A Day In The Life Of – is an ongoing series that spotlights employees at BuzzFeed.
Department: Editorial, News
Title: Senior Editor, Cohost of BuzzFeed's Internet Explorer
Years at BuzzFeed: 4
Dog or Cat Person? "Cat"
Favorite social media platform: "Sadly, I guess Twitter: @katienotopoulos"
What did you study in college? Is it relevant to what you’re doing now?
I majored in cinema studies and minored in art history, so obviously I was laser-focused on leaving college an obvious career path (just kidding). Although, I do think it's related in the macro sense that most humanities are about thinking critically about culture, which is relevant. I don't write about queer film theory or modern art at my job, but knowing about that stuff informs how I write about, say, a new Apple product, or an internet trend. If I could give one piece of advice to humanities majors, it would be take an intro level economics class or two. Combined, you'll understand everything about the whole planet and can do whatever you want.
What were you doing before BuzzFeed?
I was working for Warner Bros in their ecommerce team, so not at all related. While I was working there, I was creating a bunch of blogs on the side for fun, some of which got fairly popular or went viral, which is eventually how I ended up at BuzzFeed.
In one sentence, what is your job right now?
I report and write stories for our Tech News team, mostly about internet culture, and I cohost the weekly podcast BuzzFeed's Internet Explorer.
What's the biggest challenge about your job?
Doing a podcast is probably the most challenging in the sense that it's a totally different way of working and thinking than writing. Some stories that are fascinating in written just don't work in an audio format; figuring that all out has been a real learning experience.
What's the best part about your job?
Collaborating and brainstorming with people – being able to take a kernel of an idea and have someone else help turn it into something great.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Besides writing and reporting, I catch up on news from BuzzFeed and other places – usually links I see on Twitter or my team is discussing in Slack. I get a lot of ideas for potential new stories from keeping up with Twitter, Instagram Tumblr, which are important for my beat. I record a podcast once a week, but there's always a little bit of daily work that goes into it, like planning upcoming episodes or giving notes on episode drafts.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to do what you do?
There are a lot of people here who don't come from traditional journalism backgrounds (including me), so don't sweat about having the right major in college or the right internships or a job that's perfectly relevant. For me – and I think plenty of the other folks here with untraditional backgrounds – being able to demonstrate that you have a voice and are able to come up with great ideas on your own is what ended up mattering in getting hired here. You can always create work on your own: a blog, a video series, a really good Twitter account that shows what you can do better than a paper resume can. But also, there are a lot of amazing people at BuzzFeed who have years and years of experience in journalism, and there's so much you can learn on the job from them. I started out doing funny lists and humor content, but I learned a lot along the way from people about how to do a lot of the nuts and bolts of reporting. Always be ready to learn from people more experienced than you, but also from people younger and less experienced – it works both ways.
What is your favorite BuzzFeed piece of all time?
This classic from a mysterious community user: https://www.buzzfeed.com/potatopotatopotato/potato-potato-potato-al6j
Your twitter avatar is a GIF of balloons. Tell us about that.
The balloons were an image from the header of my old blog. In 2012 or so, Twitter stopped allowing animated GIFs as avatars, but anyone who had one was allowed to keep it. So now I can’t ever change it because I’ll never be able to get a GIF back!
The last show you binge watched?
If you could breed two totally different animals together, what new animal would you create?
A cockroach and a mouse. Then I'd threaten to release my unholy creation upon New York City unless Mayor DeBlasio makes it illegal to for coffee carts to say they have ice coffee when they're really just pouring hot coffee over ice.
If you could create your own BuzzFeed badge, what would it say?
"Owned!" (like a sick burn).
What's the most ridiculous thing you've seen on the internet?
Photos on Twitter of two girls who buttchugged cough syrup. They turned out to be absolutely delightful and charming when I ended up interviewing them about it.
Photos & Interview By: Rahul Kothari