Millie Tran: The Newsletter Editor for Mobile and Beyond

Both the editor of Buzzfeed’s mobile news app and newsletter, Millie Tran hopes to expand and drive the mobile news experience.

Raised in California, Tran attended the University of California- Los Angeles majoring in global studies and geography. Her work ranges from writing, editing and producing UCLA’s student newspaper the Daily Bruin to being a multimedia editor for Burkle Center of International Relations to researching and editing a newsletter at the American Press Institute. Currently, Tran is an editor on the Buzzfeed News newsletter where she hopes to continuously innovate the mobile news experience.

Looking back, Tran realizes she has been practicing forms journalism as early as middle school when she joined the school’s year book team. She states, “I was doing journalism before I knew I was doing journalism”.

This led to becoming the editor in chief of her high school year book.

“What I enjoyed was the collection of information on my peers and making this archive of our experiences.”

During her time at UCLA, Tran was able to hone her skills in writing, editing and producing. Although Tran wanted a future in media, she was unsure to what exactly she should pursue. She had to the ability to be a multimedia producer, but even then the word multimedia sounded outdated to her because everything is now considered multimedia. But being involved in all facets of journalism gave her more leverage to focus on unique principals of journalism.

Tran was able to utilize her multi-faceted knowledge of the industry when she joined the American Press Institute in May 2013. Mainly conducting research, Tran was able to grow and edit a media newsletter directed to journalists and people working in journalism who wanted to keep up with the changes in the industry.

Before joining API, Tran was already at a think tank with the Council on Foreign Relations and had media experience from the Atlantic Media Company and at the National Journal; so she was well equipped to help relaunch API.

API was originally a training institution for mid-level editors where news organizations would send them to the “middle-of-no-where” for a week to learn new things. Then the editors would go back and teach what they have learned.

Tran immediately noticed two issues. The first issue was the fact the old model was very expensive and second issue was with newspapers dwindling profit, it was unsustainable.

Therefore, Tran was tasked to rebrand API from a training institute to a research institute. It was to change the fore front of thinking about innovation and what it means to be sustainable journalism. Tran specifically helped brand what that meant by the email newsletters.

“It is hard to keep track of [the changes in journalism] when you are busy and have your day job, so this new program really helped what API was, what was important to us and to redefine our vision.”

To join the API email newsletter:

Below are more of Tran’s articles for API:

With her success rebranding API, Buzzfeed found Tran through the API newsletter and asked her to help with mobile news. She was asked to start the Buzzfeed News newsletter. Her goal was to figure out what the audience was, what it meant to have a newsletter and what we are trying to solve. Through this, Tran learned lessons that could easily applied to the app.

Below is Tran’s work on “What We Learned From A Week Of Prototyping A Newsletter in Public”

Through prototyping a newsletter, Tran was able to learn that the app and the newsletter have similar editorial goals. She was also able to learn that you can working on one while releasing the other. Stating that “email is fundamentally a mobile product”.

Read more about what Buzzfeed learned through prototyping:

Millie Tran’s work with API and Buzzfeed is a true inspiration to how new journalists should be thinking. With the shift to mobile being inevitable, news is becoming more fluid. Where you get your news is becoming increasing more on your phones compared to traditional ways; reading the paper in the morning or watching the afternoon news. Tran’s ideas of newsletters is a personalized way for the regular news consumer to stay informed and alert.

You can read more about Millie Tran’s work on her website:

And keep up with her latest where- abouts on her twitter:

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