10 Questions with The New Yorker's Natalie Meade
If NewsGuild of New York member and New Yorker fact-checker Natalie Meade wasn’t in the media industry, she’d have her PhD in behavioral psychology and be working as a jury consultant—think Criminal Minds but without the serial killers. Meade attended the University of Delaware for her bachelors in mass communication and psychology, but luckily for us, she transitioned into journalism and earned her masters from Columbia Journalism School.
For Meade, “journalism is one of those unique industries where you can literally learn every day,” she said. “It gives reporters the opportunity to meet people they otherwise wouldn't and see things they otherwise wouldn't. It's a job where all your senses are fed if you're out in the field reporting.”
Get to know Natalie.
1.What is your role at The New Yorker? What does that entail?
I'm a fact-checker for newyorker.com. My job is to re-report stories to ensure that what's published is accurate.
2. You were part of the original organizing effort at The New Yorker. Why was it important to organize there in particular?
I joined the organizing effort relatively late in the process, but for decades there have been inconsistencies and inequality in the newsroom. (The New Yorker editorial staff first organized for collective bargaining in 1976.) It was finally time to address those issues and advocate for our rights.
3. How have you seen your workplace transform as part of the unionizing process?
Ever since we announced our union and management briskly certified it, there has been a stronger sense of community and openness within our workplace.
4. How have you seen the industry shift from your perspective?
There is a heavier emphasis on SEO, headlines, and quantity. At one time the quality and variety of content reigned supreme, but now publications succumb to the pressures from a shrinking news cycle and the need to beat marketing goals in the form of millions of eyeballs and clicks.
5. What was the most surprising aspect of our industry for which college didn't prepare you?
The way social media has turned the 24-hour news cycle into a 12-hour one has taken journalism by surprise. College didn't teach me much about social media at all; only how the audience receives information from traditional media. In fact, Facebook was still relatively new, and Twitter started soon before I graduated. Today, I'm sure there are courses called "Social Media Effects" or "Ethics of Social Media," but they didn't exist then. Now, I need to learn how to capitalize on social media by trial and error.
6. Where do you see the journalism industry in five years?
Good question. Heavily digital and heavily visual. Video content will still be prevalent, but I predict there will be an increased use of interactive multimedia stories calling for more data journalists, designers, and coders.
7. Where do you go or what do you do to stay on top of digital trends that might affect or influence your work?
My personal network is made up of tech-savvy individuals who are tuned into new technologies and their capabilities. For updates on what’s cutting edge, I learn through conversation and studying their work.
8. What makes you hopeful for the media industry? What worries you?
I’m optimistic that there seems to be a fervor among our community and generation to become involved and hold our government accountable. Investigative journalism will continue to inform the masses and motivate them into action. What worries me is short attention spans.
9. Beyond workplace protections, how else can/have you seen the union effect change in our industry?
We naturally stand by journalists who risk their lives to expose the dark sides of tyrannical governments. But now we stand with other publications as a whole, creating an even stronger sense of solidarity and kinship across the industry.
10. What is one thing you wish every NewsGuild member knew?
I wish every NewsGuild member realized the importance of getting involved. The more people who are active in the union, the stronger it is. We want to give shop members who seize the opportunity become involved in something that’s bigger than themselves.
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