A staff position at “Gatecrasher,” the New York Daily News’ celebrity gossip column, is the kind of fairytale gig that often provides the glamorous setting for a trendy sitcom. Think of Ugly Betty’s Mode Magazine. It’s a dream job for many an aspiring young journalist.
Not Amanda Sidman ’08.
When a friend suggested she apply for an assistant’s position there, her heart scarcely fluttered. She did so largely because she disliked her job as web editor at CBS College Sports, where her tasks included updating scores for women’s Pac Ten teams.
“There are certain things I am not interested in learning about, even in the interest of journalism,” says Sidman. “College athletics is one of them.”
But perhaps casual indifference was just the quality the “Gatecrasher” editors were seeking. The job was hers.
Sidman picked up the disco ball and ran with it from red carpet interviews to celebrity book signings. From a sweet Sarah Jessica Parker (“lovely, smart”) to a snooty Snooki (“my worst interview ever”) and unruly Usher (“the only time I cried at work”). From the premiere of Nine to the premiere of Gray Gardens. From 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., nightly.
“It was a fantastic way to experience New York,” she says. “But for a year and a half, I did not get a lot of sleep.”
Eventually, Sidman rose to the senior writer position, but enough was soon enough. When she was offered a feature writing position — with less glamour but more time for a life of her own — she enthusiastically accepted it.
It was not merely exhaustion that prompted the switch: Sidman prefers her printer’s ink straight up, sans glitter. She admits to being “starstruck” by working journalists such as CNN anchor and documentary producer Soledad O’Brien and retired talk show host Larry King. Her new beat includes the chance to interview “real” New Yorkers, with unusual talent or exceptional stories to tell. Most recently, she’s launched a series about “The Best of New York,” with colleague Jacob Osterhout. One tip: For the city’s best slice, head to DiFara’s in Brooklyn.
“What I really love is finding stories about the people and places that make New York the best city in the world,” she says. “I’m very happy — and I’m getting a lot more sleep.” — Andrew W.M. Beierle
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