- Kirsten Ballard
Shannon Green has a copper printing plate hung in her condo. It is the first piece she was ever paid to write. Underneath it is the check— still uncashed.
“I have wanted to be a journalist since I was eight years old,” she says. She participated in her second grade class newspaper, and continued to foster a love of journalism through college, where she discovered video.
“You get to see, when you watch a video,” she says. “I fell in love with the ability to show someone’s face and hear their voice. It creates such a sense of compassion in the viewers for the subject of your story. I love the fact these videos show viewers the look in someone’s eyes or the emotion in their voice. It transports them to the story but it also makes them care about it. People retain so much more and so much emotion can come out of video.”
Green was recently honored as part of the News Media Alliance 30 Under 30 Award series at mediaXchange.
But to her, age is not a defining aspect of her life.
“I think everyone has different layers to their identity,” she says. “Everyone brings to the table what different aspects play into their work. It doesn’t help or hurt, it is what it is.”
However, she does believe it’s an especially exciting time to be a young journalist and that the role of the gatekeeper to news has gone extinct.
“Everyone has access to media, everyone has access to mass audiences, it’s a really exciting time because of that,” she says.
Currently, Green is focused completely on podcasts. She sets the strategy and is looking to find patterns where the audience is growing. Her days are spent recording, planning for shows and editing. She records her own podcasts; “I tell my husband the news.”
She has been amazed with how people engage with the podcasts. When she discussed shortening her segment, a loyal listener reached out to explain that he listens to the podcast during his commute to work, and if it was half the time, he wouldn’t be able to fill his commute.
“We live in an age where he can just reach out to me and have a conversation,” she said. “There’s such a close connection to the people that are consuming our media.”
During a blizzard in New York City this year, Green flipped on Periscope for USA TODAY, sharing the information from the alerts she was receiving. A natural conversation followed, allowing the viewers to ask her questions and react to the stream.
“People are participating with the news,” she says.
She advises that journalists download and try every new app.
“I think the best way to know what works and what doesn’t work on any new app is to be a user yourself,” she says.
She credits USA TODAY with allowing her to do nuts-to-soup production. The leadership there inspires creativity and experimentation. Green spent time covering the Olympics, just six months after graduating. She has been behind the camera, on camera and is now immersed in podcasts. Some of her proudest moments were working on investigative features.
“Being able to work on investigative stories has always given me a lot of joy,” she says. “I know it can lead to change and that is something many journalists believe in so strongly. Reporting on something under covered can lead to powerful change for the community, and potentially the country…this is why we do what we do, so we can tell stories that change the community and root out corruption.”
News Media Alliance announced the winners of its first “Top 30 Under 30” Awards program at mediaXchange 2016 in April, which honors young leaders working in every aspect of the news media who are contributing to the future success of the industry. Over the next several weeks we will feature profiles on the winners, highlighting their work and ideas, and how they’re helping the industry grow and evolve.