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Moonlighting at The New York Times

Paul Moon, a supervisor on The Times’s newsroom operations team, also has an established career as an actor.

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Before Paul Moon worked at The New York Times, he played a journalist on TV.

The role was on the soap opera “All My Children,” in 2013, and Mr. Moon was cast as a local news reporter.

Looking back, he said there were parts of his portrayal he nailed: “Being able to speak forcefully but remain sort of emotionally detached,” for instance.

But now, after three years working in the newsroom at The Times’s headquarters in New York, he said he would approach the part differently.

“It’s honestly very similar to being around a bunch of artists because journalists are so particular and they’re so eccentric,” he said.

Mr. Moon, 28, is one of many employees whose interests — and dreams — infuse the daily news report. Over the years, news assistants have doubled as actors, painters, fashion designers and musicians.

Steven McElroy, The Times’s director of newsroom operations and Mr. Moon’s boss, also has a background as a theater actor and director. Although many Times employees are journalism-school graduates who have always wanted to report, produce or edit, “there’s certainly a subset of people that have come from theater and the restaurant industry,” Mr. McElroy said.

Mr. Moon, frequently referred to as the “newsroom ham,” is known for his knack for bringing absurdity to the mundane.

Mr. Moon approaches daily tasks — like ordering ergonomic equipment or making signs for conference rooms — with levity. The self-proclaimed Times “Head of Eating,” he’s the guy who always manages to find, and help himself to, any snacks that appear in the office. (“I can sniff out free food like you wouldn’t believe,” he said.)

“He’s built up quite a fan base,” said The Times’s senior night editor, Steve Kenny. “He knows names, habits, whereabouts and interests of so many of his colleagues, and he plays to his audience.”

Mr. Moon also frequently contributes to The Times. He worked as an interviewer for The Times’s Facebook Live channel. He has also written about his attempts to grow a beard and his father’s work as a funeral director, and contributed reporting to the recent article “The ISIS Files.”

“He has a whole other agenda in his life and career, but he still doesn’t phone it in here. He is very present,” Mr. McElroy said. “Somehow I think it makes all of us feel a little less stressed out.”

According to his parents, Mr. Moon has always had his own vision. When he was in elementary school, his mother encouraged him to play baseball. But one day, he walked off the field during the middle of the game, tired of being stuck out in right field. “The coach and I were trying to convince him to go back out and he just said: ‘It’s boring. I don’t want to do this,’ ” his mother, Angela Moon, remembered.

Mr. Moon said his inspiration to be an actor came when he was 10 and watched a commercial for “Fight Club” starring Brad Pitt. In high school he became a champion fencer; he planned to fence at Ohio State, but once he was enrolled, he decided to pursue theater instead.

After graduating, Mr. Moon moved to New York and got a job selling merchandise — programs, T-shirts, fridge magnets — for Broadway shows. While appearing in a play, he met an actor who was married to a Times employee, and Mr. Moon applied for a job at The Times.

Recently promoted to supervisor on The Times’s newsroom operations team, he now oversees a group of news assistants who help with building operations. But his schedule is flexible and allows for some acting commitments. “Most of the time I’m just going for an audition, which is usually like 15 minutes, and then I’ll come back,” Mr. Moon said. (He also uses his lunch breaks.)

He recently appeared in Season 1 of “The Tick,” a comic-book-inspired series on Amazon, in a recurring role as one of the bad guys, Khufu. He’s now also writing a television series called “Them” which deals with gender issues in rural America.

Still, his parents would like to see him commit to the stability of a job at The Times.

His father, Jim Moon, said he told Paul, “If you get cast in a role, don’t just say, ‘O.K., I’ve made it and I’m resigning.’ ”

Mr. Moon says that’s the plan for now — until, of course, “I book something huge.”

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