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Binya Appelbaum, C’01

Editorial Board Member, The New York Times

Washington, D.C.

History Major, degree concentration in Intellectual History

I have friends who took a while to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives. My life has actually been more of a straight-line progression. I spent a lot of my time at The Daily Pennsylvanian, working on the student paper. I ended up editing the paper my junior and senior years. And then after college, I found a newspaper that was willing to hire me. It absolutely was my time at Penn that turned me onto journalism and got me excited about it, no question.

What inspires me is the opportunity to help people, to bring a little more light and justice to the world. I spent several years investigating subprime lending abuses in the suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina. And that work really brought those problems to people’s attention. It resulted in significant legislative changes, and it helped a lot of people in those neighborhoods. That’s probably the work that I’m most proud of.

Your credibility is based on your ability to be consistently accurate. When I was a young reporter, I got things wrong—not big things, they’d just be small things. But it was happening often enough that my boss called me in about it. That was a really good lesson … I mean, I had a lot of pride and confidence, and I felt good about what I was doing. And I was proud of the way that I wrote. But if you don’t get the basic stuff right, it doesn’t matter. You need to begin by just making sure your “T’s” are crossed and your “I’s” are dotted. And that you’ve got the basic facts right. — March 1, 2019 • Photo by Brooke Sietinsons