THE HILL: Missing Black Lives Matter protester Oluwatoyin Salau among pair of women found slain in Florida


Black Lives Matter activist Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau, 19, was one of two women found dead in Tallahassee, Fla., on Saturday night, a week after she was reported missing. 

Local officials said in a statement that they found Salau’s body, as well as the body of 75-year-old Victoria Sims, and that 49-year-old Aaron Glee Jr. has been taken into custody in connection with the deaths….

Read more at The Hill

THE HILL: Kaepernick launches fund to pay for lawyers of arrested George Floyd protesters

Former NFL star and activist Colin Kaepernick launched a legal fund on Friday to pay for top defense lawyers to represent those arrested while protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The fund, called The Know Your Rights Camp Legal Defense Initiative, states on its website: “When there is an injustice within our community, it is our legal right to address it, by any means necessary.”

Read the rest at The Hill…

THE HILL: Penguins wander empty art museum, director says they seem to prefer Caravaggio over Monet

The penguins at the Kansas City Zoo have been lonely without visitors during the coronavirus pandemic, so their human caretakers decided to take them on a field trip to the local art museum.

In a video that has quickly racked up tens of thousands of views, a family of penguins is seen wandering freely through The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo. 

Read more at The Hill…

I’m a deputy managing editor now. This is how I do my job:

I was recently promoted to be the deputy managing editor of social at The Hill.

What does that mean?

I help manage our team of social media curators and work directing the flow of breaking news stories and social stories for our website. Sometimes I’m simply helping find the best way to package content on Twitter, Facebook and our other social platforms. Other times I’m training our curators how to do the same.

In between, I’m paying close attention to what our readers are interested in and finding the news that delivers traffic and engagement to our website.

Aren’t you glad I was able to describe my job without using social media buzzwords like “growth hacking” and “thinkfluencer?”


Here are three things I do in my job every day to stay on top of the news. Who knows, these might help you if you’re in a similar industry or simply a curious person.

Curated Twitter lists for the areas I cover

Because I focus on politics, knowing who breaks political news is key. My TweetDeck is separated with columns for CSPAN’s list of Representatives and Senators — to stay on top of what lawmakers say — a list of political reporters (especially White House correspondents) from our competitors, and a “newsmakers” list of people who tweet news right as it happens or people whose voices are popular among our readers (think former Obama advisers, celebrities who weigh in on politics etc.)

Staying on top of what language works

I have a running Google Doc w/ engaging verbs, nouns and topics that we see perform well. I also am constantly looking up how our competitors are sharing the same stories and what language works for them. For example, during the White House Correspondents Dinner outlets referred to the event differently, spelled it out, some called it the WHCD, and others did WH correspondents dinner. By looking at competitor’s language and comparing different posts of our own, we could see which of those readers gravitated toward most.

Not being afraid to try and fail

To understand what language works, sometimes you have to fail and pick the wrong language. Being curious and willing to try something new, stick with what works and even push for something better means being willing to bomb a tweet or a Facebook post. Sorry boss!

A look back at my time at TNR

When The Orange County Register changed ownership in the spring of 2016 and I was laid off, I felt like I might not stay in journalism. It was my first job out of college, reporting is hard to break into, and I was lucky I lived at home and could even afford my student loans, bills, the usual on the salary of an entry-level staff writer.

I applied and applied, and on the same day that I got a job offer to do public relations for a DC-area museum I got the offer for the New Republic’s editorial internship. I decided to take the leap, pass up what would have been a more stable income, and move to DC on two weeks notice with no place to live.

I moved into the spare room of a former journalism professor, who had just moved to DC after she got a job at Georgetown. Two weeks later I moved in with some strangers I met online.

New Republic was eye-opening. Its writers and editors are sharp and thoughtful and have a pulse on things I didn’t even know existed when I arrived.

I spent a lot of time helping copy-edit, pitching blog posts and longer stories, formatting and inserting print copy for web, and helping with email newsletters.

At the New Republic, I worked my first presidential debate, learned to write editorial, and got my first taste of DC political journalism. I didn’t spend the amount of time I planned at the publication because I moved to The Hill, but it was a great experience and I sometimes wonder what else I could have learned if I stayed a bit longer.

Here are some/most of the pieces I wrote at The New Republic (which I remind you is a magazine that expresses opinion)

The North Dakota Access Pipeline is about to become a big issue.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton skirted the issue of climate change.

Why Bayer’s purchase of Monsanto is so controversial.

Paul Ryan dare not speaketh the name of Donald Trump.

Georgetown University will offer “preferential status” to the descendants of the 272 slaves it sold in 1838.

Thanks to France’s surging far right, Nicolas Sarkozy has come out as a climate truther.

The future of equal education requires a trauma-informed classroom.

Al Gore, millennial whisperer?

It’s official: Climate change is a threat to our national security

Donald Trump’s environmental team is a climate change nightmare.

NEW REPUBLIC: The climate change election that didn’t happen

At a campaign rally in Florida on Tuesday, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton spent a whopping 46 minutes on climate change—the most attention given to the issue so far in the general election. But for many media outlets, the news hook wasn’t that the star of An Inconvenient Truth was bolstering Clinton’s environmental bona fides in a state battered by climate change; it was his reminder that “every single vote counts”—that a protest vote for a third-party candidate could lead to a Trump presidency, just as Ralph Nader voters in Florida secured George W. Bush’s defeat of Gore in 2000.

This is par for the course for climate change’s profile in the 2016 election. The subject was discussed for just 325 seconds over the first two presidential debates—and even then, it wasn’t about climate change per se. During the first debate, Clinton noted that Trump once said climate change was invented by the Chinese. Trump lied, saying, “I did not.” During the second debate, an audience member asked, “What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job layoffs?” No one remembers the answer—because the questioner in the sweater, Ken Bone, became an internet meme.

All of which is to say, climate change is once again taking a back seat in a presidential election—and activists and journalists are a bit despondent about it.

“A lot of environmental reporters are asking, ‘When are we gonna talk about it? Is it time?’ I feel like all of us are like, ‘Maybe this is our year!’” said Kate Sheppard, a senior reporter at The Huffington Post. “There’s even a running joke where, when we’re all watching the debate and climate change comes up, we’re all saying, ‘I finally get to write something!’”

Read more at the New Republic…

YouTube’s Guide to Breaking The Social Media Code (from SMLA)

Last month I covered Social Media Week L.A., a conference on all things social media marketing, public relations and “content”. The full collection of stories I wrote can be found here.

Below, I’ve included one of the more interesting pieces from the heads of social at YouTube:

In “LOL Watch This!” Victor Piniero, SVP of Social Media at Big Spaceship and Claire Stapleton, Social Media manager shared their guide to breaking the rules of social media.

Here is how they say “best practices, schmest schmractices”:

1. There’s No Such Thing as Free Advertising

Piniero started this point with an example of a viral video from Snowmageddon last winter in which a YoutTube curator snowboards through the streets of New York City. The curator is wearing a YouTube Letterman jacket — free right? Wrong.

Those Letterman Jackets were given to vloggers and content creators at YouTube to recognize their reach. It ended up costing to buy the Letterman Jackets, but they end up as “free” advertising when they’re featured in videos or when vloggers post photos in them on Instagram.

“New algorithms (in social media) don’t make social media a ‘pay to play’ area where marketing is just ads.” Piniero said. “We try to make things feel like they’re flowing from the culture of YouTube.”

2. Keep Things In Real Time

“Internet culture is moving faster than ever,” Stapleton said. “Chewbacca mom was only out there for a day and then she was on Ellen and starring on shows.”

Stapelton explained that the nature of internet culture’s speed means it’s important to post several times a day.

“We’re posting 15+ times a day, watching for what’s trending and curating posts within a few hours of news or viral video breaking.”

She says that despite how quickly things move online, YouTube also focuses on the slow culture, looking at “the internet culture, fandom culture, and pop culture” to see where YouTube lies in the middle and try to gauge the future as well.

3. Don’t Be Thirsty

The term “thirsty” as Stapleton explained is “the word of the year to describe brands that are desperate to relate to kids.” She points out brands that try too hard to use teen slang such as “bae” and “on fleek” to catch kids.

It’s okay to be thirsty, Stapleton said, but you should be careful about how you do that.

“It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be a part of the cultural situation, but we try not to jump on trends, just because they’re trends. We look for the youtube angle and try to share that with our community in an earnest way,” she said.

4. Data Gives Great Insights

Piniero shared that Youtube is constantly analyzing data and queries — but the company has it’s own philosophy on how to best use that data.

“The key to us is combining data with Voltron… “Piniero joked referring to the 80’s cartoon robot operated by multiple people.

“What I mean by that,” he added, “is we have a really tight knit team that understands the different meanings of all of that data.”

YouTube employees have a daily newsletter to review trending issues and a YouTube’s content from the last 24 hours to evaluate, bounce around ideas and start thinking about the next 24 hours.

5. Be Consistent

In this part of the conversation, Stapleton explained that YouTube closely follows how it is perceived and works to maintain that on its social media platforms. It’s important not to suddenly change game plans.

6. You Need a Huge Following to Have an Impact

“If you get it right, social content doesn’t compete with advertising,” Piniero said quoting an internet celebrity. “It competes with popular culture. That’s the thing we’re trying to win in this war.”

7. Focus on a Few Social Platforms

YouTube, Stapleton said, uses it’s different social platforms for different messages. Choosing a focus for each, she said, is important to curating the right content.

“We’re not that concerned with trying new things,” she said. “Instagram for example is new for us and we’re doing something we wouldn’t do on Twitter, but we made it more of a behind the scenes of Youtube. We’re using each platform as a different part of our editorial.”

This event took place at Social Media Week in Los Angeles. Sign up for SMW Insider to access the full video of this event and 50+ other #SMWLA sessions.

9 months, 3 cover stories

I graduated from college nine months ago. Which is weird because working full-time makes it feel more like a year and a half ago.

If you read this blog or even my about section or just know me in general, you know that during that time I have interned and since bene hired at The Orange County Register. Since I started as an official staff writer in August I’ve written 3 A1 stories. The following are those stories.

Hopefully there are more to come.

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cover story

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