Interview Notes: Anne Kadet
how the author of "Café Anne" researches her posts
Welcome to the 3rd installment of “Interview Notes”! Around once a month, I interview a contemporary note-taker to get a sense for how we’re taking notes today. I’ll be back on Monday with another historical post!
I’ve always loved “Café Anne” because it feels like a salon filled with zany ideas and zanier people—all set against the backdrop of every-day NYC life. Personally, I can’t get enough of her updates on Mayor Adams. Last week, I was lucky enough to join Anne on her most recent NYC adventure!
So how did this all come about? ZM Spalter, author of the fantastic newsletter, Occasionally Impervious, wrote a post about vending machines and honor boxes in Japan. This sparked a conversation about community fridges in NYC. “Hmmm. This sounds like a question for Anne of Café Anne,” said Zakia. “I’ll be your assistant, Anne!” I said.
And then it actually happened! I joined Anne for a few hours as we toured lower Manhattan’s community fridges. Anne wrote this beautiful piece to chronicle our adventure:
For those of you who don’t already know, Anne is a seasoned reporter. Before starting her newsletter, she had a column in the Wall Street Journal. Now, we all get to enjoy high-quality reporting with an extra-dose of fun on a weekly basis.
Anne graciously allowed me to take pictures of her notes. So for all of you Anne-fans out there, and all of you soon-to-be-Anne-fans, here’s a special look at Anne’s process.
The Magic Words
We began our tour at the Chinatown Community Fridge. Unfortunately, it was locked. As we planned our next move, we saw a little eye gazing at us from behind the blinds of a ground-floor window. This is how we met Nicole, one of the volunteers at the fridge. She came out of the building behind the fridge and asked how she could help us. I froze. But Anne knew the magic words:
We’re doing a story on community fridges.
After that, we couldn’t get the volunteers to stop talking! Anne, the real reporter, captured it on her phone — all 20 minutes of it!
How Anne Prepares
Let me tell you: Anne shows up prepared! She printed out a map with all the fridges in downtown Manhattan for both of us. She also brought little information worksheets for herself. They included facts about each fridge and a few prompts, which she diligently filled out after each fridge-stop.
Here is Anne, finishing her notes for the Essex Market Plant-Based Community Fridge. I love how her notes prompt her to include information that will then find its way into the post. This is some fantastic outlining!
Anne thought we should award superlatives for each fridge. The Essex fridge was broken. So I nominated it for “most in need of improvement.” Anne took this photo of me donating carrots and hummus to this sad looking fridge.
FYI: no one was as excited about hummus as I was. A lady on the street asked us for food and I tried to give her hummus. She didn’t want it.
What I love most about Anne’s process is how well-organized it is! She’s already got a framework in mind before she hits the streets of NY. And then, she structures her notes to make writing the post a bit easier.
Also — she’s got an exciting list going on her phone that includes “STORY IDEAS” and secret notes for “CAFÈ ANNE”:
I can’t wait for next Monday to read more of the fascinating conversations Anne has captured on her phone!
Thanks for reading the 3rd issue of “Interview Notes.” You can support Noted by hitting the heart, sharing this post, or subscribing!
I’ll be back on Monday with a special Thanksgiving post!