Intern Diary: Ariana Mushnick with Vox.com

By Ariana Mushnick JMC '16

Ariana Mushnick at Vox
March 31, 2016

Just a few years ago nobody would have believed there would be a whole team dedicated to social media and audience engagement in a newsroom, let alone a social media intern or now, a Snapchat intern.

It was a simpler process for news organizations to reach audiences before the rise of social media. Traditionally, publishers would create a product, whether it was a paper, magazine, or website, and their audience would seek out the finished product to read it.

Today, however, if news outlets want to reach audiences, they need to put their content where their audience is.

Where is that? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat and other social media platforms.

The ever-increasing role of sites like Facebook and Twitter as platforms for news consumption is what makes social media at Vox essential and fascinating.

As a social media intern, I help manage Vox’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, driving audience engagement and traffic to Vox.com. Social media analytics is also a key part of my position. We use data to gain insight into things like what makes a Vox story go viral or the type of posts that our audience interacts with the most. I analyze our social media progress on a weekly basis to identify trends, strengths and areas where our social media performance can be improved. We are constantly thinking of ways to innovate on social and create better content for our audience.

I also spend time monitoring mentions of Vox on Facebook and Twitter, responding when needed and taking into account feedback the Vox audience provides. For instance, Vox recently launched its Snapchat Discover channel and we have been closely tracking what our audience is saying about the Vox Snapchat channel on Twitter.

One of the most exciting parts of working for a news website is that it is fast-paced and unpredictable. Interning during the election season made my experience particularly interesting. Although you can never predict the news, this election season has been exceptionally unpredictable and newsworthy. I have the opportunity to help with live social coverage of the presidential debates and primary election nights like Super Tuesday.

The information and skills I’ve learned in my SMPA classes have been extremely helpful for the work I do at Vox. As a current student in Professor Nikki Usher’s social media class, I’ve been able to directly apply skills and concepts we are learning in the course to my internship. Even though I am not a reporter, having a foundational understanding of good reporting and the journalism industry as a whole is crucial for working at a news outlet.

Being a part of Vox’s engagement team has been an extremely rewarding and educational experience. I see so much value in the explanatory journalism that Vox produces, so it is a great feeling to know I am helping to spread the organization’s brand and bring its content to the screens of millions of people.