UPDATE: As of September 2013 I now work as a social/engagement producer at the Washington Post. More details on that when I get a chance to update this page. Needless to say, I’m very excited about embarking on this new chapter. I do have an author page there with all of the things I’ve written, most of which I’m quite proud of, although the majority of my work is not on bylined articles.
Hi, I’m Jessica, a digital and social media editor in the Voice of America’s English Division. My official title is “Audience Engagement Analyst,” which is a phrase that makes less sense the more you think about it.
I’m passionate about innovative ways to tell stories and present information, and I think the best stories teach me to look at the world a different way, or get me excited about something I didn’t realize I was interested in. I’m also a strong evangelist for the strategic use of social media. I get just as psyched about the shiny new thing as everyone else, but I also always force myself to step back and ask how it contributes to our larger goals.
What I actually do tends to fall into three general areas:
(1) Community manager and strategist
I manage most of VOA’s primary social media presences (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.), and work with all the various components of the English division to design and implement tailored social media strategies for their region or program.
Implementing social media strategies has meant conducting a lot of targeted training. I have designed social media trainings tailored to the needs of various types of reporters and producers, have created tutorials around frequently asked questions, and have held brown bag sessions to combine learning with evangelizing. Many of the basic materials from my social media trainings and tutorials are in the Trainings section of the site.
(3) Special digital/social projects
I also work as a producer on special projects and coverage, particularly if they have a social or UGC angle. This has included everything from pitching and managing a UGC-based project for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 (called What’s Your 9/11?), to designing and building the topic page for the 2010 World Cup.
A lot of the social and digital projects I’ve worked on are in the Projects section of the site, and I often try to analyze how they went and why (an endeavor that I’m sure is more interesting when they go wrong, but let’s still hope for good outcomes…less interesting analysis, but better for my general well-being).
Because I love trying new things, I often fill in gaps when we just need someone to take care of something, which is how I’ve ended up working on: quality assurance for VOA’s website and mobile website, web production and promotion for a radio show to Sudan, Google Adwords campaigns, and traditional reporting on issues from drought in Somalia to the launch of the U.N. women’s agency.
My pet project is VOA’s Student Union blog, a site about international student life in the U.S., written by students who are living that experience. As the blog manager, I work with all the regular student writers, helping them hone their story ideas and edit their final product. I also handle all promotion, and contribute a lot of material to the blog myself. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever worked on – it has come to mean a lot to the students who write for it, and they’ve come to mean a lot to me.
Need more? I’m also a semi-professional dancer (yup, really), a huge nerd (which I’ve only recently begun to admit to myself) and have been, in former iterations, a political scientist, actual scientist, economist, and teacher.
In case you want to see the official version of all this, I’ll embed my real resume (with my physical address redacted of course – Facebook stalk me if you want, but real life stalking is not okay). Enjoy!