In 2008, I was an intern with the "Interactive News" group at the New York Times. On a day-to-day basis, I worked with editors and reporters to design interactive mini-sites, backed by full-fledged Web applications. While there, I contributed to the Times' online coverage of the 2008 Presidential Election and the 2008 Summer Olympics. I also got my first (and almost certainly last) Times byline.
The Times newsroom in 2008 was a place of excitement and uncertainty. The exciting part was that online news was such a new idea that it felt like everyone was making up the rules as they went along. It was clear that online "content" would be the future of the newspaper, but it was not quite clear what that meant for journalism (and maybe it still isn't). There was no precedent for what news organizations should do with their websites so there was a lot of room for exploration and experimentation. On top of that, the Times had just moved into a beautiful new building.
At the same time, the Times, like many other U.S. papers, was laying off lots of reporters and editors in 2008. My desk in the newsroom abutted the desk of the reporter who covered the media, so I overheard many of his depressing phone calls about newsroom downsizings and closings nation-wide.