How to explain your social media job

social iconsI was recently invited to speak to students in a social media innovations class at Temple University.

I’ve been doing social media professionally for about five years, but I still haven’t found the best way to explain to people what it is I really do and how I do it. It became clear to me during this class why that is.

Though I work closely with the marketing and membership departments at WHYY, most of the social media work I do is concentrated in the newsroom. And the social media I use with my journalism students is also news-based. It wasn’t until I found myself talking directly with students whose career paths are more business-oriented and product-based that I fully realized why it’s so hard to explain social media positions.

“You pretty much can’t teach anything these days without incorporating social media.”

Bingo. That was on one of the (rather boring-looking) slides I brought with me to the class. Everyone uses social media, and because there’s no one clear purpose for it, there’s no quick explanation for how to use it. Continue reading How to explain your social media job

Why I love the Philly accent and why it’s not going anywhere [NewsWorks essay]

Screen shot 2013-04-03 at 10.42.08 AM

I could not sit idly by last week as University of Pennsylvania researchers announced findings that the Philadelphia accent may very well be fading.

So as a NewsWorks colleague set out to determine exactly what that meant, I took it upon myself to defend the oft-mocked accent, and explain why, no matter how the city changes, its residents will likely always say “wooder.”

The full essay is below, and you can read the original on NewsWorks. Continue reading Why I love the Philly accent and why it’s not going anywhere [NewsWorks essay]

Covering the 2012 election on live TV [NewsWorks]

That’s me on the right with WHYY-TV election night host Tracey Matisak.

Just because I’m a social media editor doesn’t mean I spend all day at a computer using Facebook or Twitter.

Actually, it does sort of mean that, but if you’re a journalist in 2012, you’ve got to be able to multitask and you really ought to develop skills across several platforms. That’s partly how I came to be on live TV Nov. 6 to cover the 2012 election. Continue reading Covering the 2012 election on live TV [NewsWorks]

I’m the new Social Media Editor for NewsWorks

I started at NewsWorks on Nov. 3, 2010. I came in right after that year’s election and less than two weeks before the official launch of, the news site for Philadelphia’s public media station, WHYY.

It’s been a great almost-two years, and now I’m happy to announce I’ve been promoted. Continue reading I’m the new Social Media Editor for NewsWorks

Why I feel safe in ‘Killadelphia’ [NewsWorks]

In summer 2012, Philadelphia was abuzz – with gun violence. As the WHYY newsroom worked to cover the violence and its affect on the city, I felt compelled to write about my own reaction to the violence.

The full story is below.This essay first appeared on NewsWorks July 6, 2012 [pdf version]. Continue reading Why I feel safe in ‘Killadelphia’ [NewsWorks]

How a work project uncovered my true family roots [NewsWorks]

A portion of the interactive family tree NewsWorks web producer Todd Vachon designed to illustrate a story that was complicated to tell on the radio and TV.

Back in March, my boss at NewsWorks/WHYY came to me and offered what I then considered to be just a fun opportunity to spread my wings at work.

Months later, I’m still working on the project that’s basically changed the things about my life I’ve always accepted as truth.

Through a grant from WNET and the Henry Louis Gates “Finding Your Roots” initiative, I worked with DNA analysts and genealogical researches to confirm what I’d always been taught about my roots: I’m Native American, but not Irish. Turns out neither is likely true.

The full story is below. It originally ran on NewsWorks as a two-video package. Continue reading How a work project uncovered my true family roots [NewsWorks]

St. Hubert’s brown and gold fights on – but for how long? [NewsWorks]

This a story I wrote for WHYY’s, where I work full-time as the Feed Blogger.

My editor asked me to contribute a personal essay about a recent shake-up in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. On Jan. 6, a commission announced that four high schools and dozens of grade schools would close at the end of the year. My alma mater, St. Hubert’s High School, was on that list.

After a weeks-long appeals process, the diocese announced Hubert’s and the other three high schools will remain open for now.

This was an especially difficult piece to write, given that I rarely flex my personal essay-writing skills, but I was glad for the chance to share it with a larger audience.

The full story is below, and originally appeared on NewsWorks Feb. 28, 2012 [pdf version]. Continue reading St. Hubert’s brown and gold fights on – but for how long? [NewsWorks]