Q&A With The Daily Dot’s Selena Larson
The Daily Dot is among the growing mass of media companies catering to the Internet generation, the demographic that prefers their news served digitally with their choice of side orders such as apps, APIs, memes and podcasts.The site still pays homage to traditional media – its tagline, after all, is “All the news that’s fit to click.” The Daily Dot delves deeper, however, and recognizes how often the Internet is a newsmaker by itself, the epicenter of a cultural era with niche communities bonding digitally and globally.
The editorial staff’s all-female technology team recently welcomed Selena Larson, a former writer for ReadWrite, to the fold. In a newly created position, she covers the intersection of technology, culture and social justice. Her background includes blogging, freelancing, broadcast production and award-winning multimedia pieces on topics such as child trafficking and PTSD in veterans. When you connect this background with The Daily Dot’s mission, it appears to be a match made in heaven.
Q: How do you see tech, culture and social justice overlapping?
A: One of the biggest issues in technology right now is diversity in the workplace. I’ve written quite a few pieces about women and minorities in technology and how the industry still has quite a bit of work to do in terms of creating welcoming and diverse environments. Also, ed tech is something I follow very closely – there are so many interesting companies out there trying to make technology and education accessible for underrepresented groups.
Q: Given your extensive background, what sparked your interest and activism in social justice?
A: I guess I’ve just always thought that in order for me to be happy and successful in my career and in my life, I should be helping others, and writing and documenting things that make an impact on the world. As a journalist, I get to tell stories about inspiring people, communities, or companies, or write about things in our culture that need to change.
Q: Per your Seeking Cities blog, you’ve visited 20 countries on five continents – what are some of your most memorable experiences? Did you observe the tech/culture/social justice intersection in your travels?
A: Since moving to San Francisco I really haven’t traveled as much as I’d like to, unfortunately. I’ve had so many wonderful experiences, and usually it’s just my mom and I hopping on a plane, then using Hotel Tonight to find a hostel when we get there. Whenever you go to a new place you realize how differently people interact with technology and each other. In many developing countries I’ve been to, mobile computing is really the only way people stay connected because computers and Internet cafes can be cost-prohibitive.
Q: And will the blog continue with your new role?
A: I’d like to continue the blog, but that requires me to do some traveling. So I guess I should plan another trip soon!
Q: We’re witnessing a seismic shift from traditional to digital media news consumption, and it obviously has an impact on editorial staffing around the country. What advice would you impart on those seeking careers in journalism?
A: I’m excited about the future of journalism, and that’s one of the reasons I’m so stoked to work at The Daily Dot. They’re doing things right. I would say to people wanting to break into the industry, write about things you’re interested in and build a portfolio. I’d also suggest writing a personal blog, and be active on Twitter. I’ve been lucky to meet and build relationships with very supportive people—getting to know other folks in the industry helps. I will say that it’s going to be hard, and often you have to do work you don’t want to do. But eventually it pays off.
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