Interview by Zahraa Hmood
What made you want to join the journalism program at Ryerson?
I was interested in hands-on learning and had heard Ryerson hired working journalists as profs.
Talk about what you’ve done since graduating.
I’ve worked as a freelance writer/photographer and staff editor for newspapers, magazines and digital natives. I worked at a tech startup and launched a new office in New York City. I managed partnerships for TIME magazine and audience development for all of Time Inc.’s brands. I recently moved to California to work for Apple News, where I help publishers find and grow their audience on the platform.
What made you decide to go the route that you did?
My career consists of taking advantage of opportunities that were unexpected but too interesting to pass up. I tend to go for the stuff that scares me.
How did you get there?
I’ve built a reputation as someone who bridges the gap between business, tech and editorial. I can recommend revenue models to a CEO, explain an API integration to an engineer or workshop headlines with a reporter.
Since graduating, what are some skills you’ve learned working in media, both as a freelance journalist and during your time at different publications?
Leadership. Being a boss is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Communicating with technical people. They speak a different language. Learn it.
Project management. I cannot stress enough how important this is, and how rare. Learn how to set goals, measure success and manage egos. These skills have led directly to promotions.
What’s your favourite thing you’ve ever done at a job?
It’s an interesting time to work in Silicon Valley, where tech giants are spending big money to disrupt journalism. I love that I have a platform at Apple to champion on behalf of some of the world’s most innovative newsrooms.
How has your Ryerson degree helped you?
Profs have gotten me internships, freelance gigs and full-time jobs (and I ask for their advice to this day). The degree helped me qualify for a US work visa.
What are some fun memories you have from your time at J-School?
It’s all mostly a blur.
What advice would you give to current journalism students?
Care about how publishers make money. Make friends in other industries. Learn how to use spreadsheets.