I spent most of 2015 in grad school, focused on learning about “social journalism” and sharing what I learned while doing journalism. Much of that reporting is published here on Medium, and I’ve been wowed at the popularity and shelf-life of some of that work. So, without further ado, the 10 most popular pieces I wrote in 2015:
Journo Salary Sharer was a survey/tool/series I launched in August to encourage salary transparency between journalists. Thousands of journalists shared their salaries, and I used that data to write a bunch of articles highlighting takeaways for each type of role (reporter, editor, photojournalist, designer, etc.). The reporter article here was the first takeaway post I published, and by far the most popular thing I wrote this year. Thanks to the dozens of media outlets and individual journalists who wrote about and shared the salary sharer survey:
I shadowed some really awesome journalists in the past year, including Annie Shields. She was the first person I followed around, and this first “Day in the Life” piece I published was incredibly popular. I attribute a fair amount of that to The Nation including a link to the piece in one of their email newsletters to subscribers. (Medium stats show the email referrals to this leaps and bounds ahead of other sources and far beyond what I see from email for other stories.) Anyway, a good lesson that many readers are curious about the journalists behind the curtain.
This was the introduction to Journo Salary Sharer, that I published as soon as I launched the tool. It quickly became a major way people found the survey. (I had expected, naively, the direct link to the survey to be what people shared.) The second biggest traffic driver to this piece was a Poynter article. This is the only piece I wrote this year that has a specific article as a top traffic driver (usually it’s broad categories like “facebook.com” or “email, IM, and direct”).
In my grad school program, few (if any) students wanted to be hired in a “traditional reporter” kind of role after graduating. But at this point in the program, we weren’t learning much about what other kinds of roles existed in newsrooms. Seeing that curiosity, and having worked in several production-side roles before, I knew I could explain some other options. I interviewed a few folks I knew about their “non-reporter” roles (though let’s agree that all journalists do reporting and act as reporters for at least a portion of their jobs). I called it my “guide to some other journalism jobs for new graduates or disillusioned reporters.” I encouraged professors and journalism teachers I know on social media to share the guide with their students. Not surprisingly, my favorite part of creating this article was lighting a reporter’s notebook on fire for the illustration. 🔥
The “Day in the Life” piece about an engagement editor went so well, I did a few more similar pieces. This one, about two people with 2015’s hot title “growth editor,” also commanded a sizable audience. It also had a double appeal: People weren’t only curious about what a growth editor does, but also about what Vocativ is. And to everyone who has asked me how to pronounce Vocativ (which is everyone who’s tried to talk to me about this article IRL or over the phone), it’s like “evocative” minus the e-, (or maybe they were going for “provocative” minus the pro-).
And a quick-hit list for the next five:
- 6) Journo Salary Sharer: How much do editors make?
- 7) Hey reporters: An alternative to #DontReadtheComments: Jump in
- 8) Day in the Life of a Social Media Coordinator: New York Post’s Delia Paunescu
- 9) What does a growth editor do?
- 10) Journo Salary Sharer: How much do web producers make?
Now… what do you want me to write about in 2016?