Alex Cardinale is an online show host, social entrepreneur, and tech enthusiast. She's also PolicyMic's talented pundit of the week, and eager to discuss the biggest advantages to writing for us, and the importance of consistency in community development.
As part of the "pundit of the week" blog, we spotlight one exceptional PolicyMic-er to share personal experiences with our community, and pose one never-been-asked question to a staff member.
This week's question is for breaking news editor Mike Luciano.
Check out last week's Q&A with Billy Buntin.
About Alex: The NYU traveler has spent a significant portion of her life traveling throughout 17 countries. Alex is focused on international development, media/ tech and global politics, though her time at the urban New York University has encouraged an interest in investigative journalism. She offers a perspective on foreign policy through her political personality on her show The Meme Factory.
Caira Conner (CC): First things first, when and why did you get involved with PolicyMic?
Alex Cardinale (AC): Anybody who's ever dabbled in some sort of writing knows that it’s hard to get a reputable source to publish your work, especially as a young writer. But with PolicyMic, I found I had an opportunity to formulate sharp arguments with detailed research, and have them published consistently in front of a responsive audience. Honestly, there were so many bonuses to writing for PolicyMic that I simply couldn’t find on a university campus or at a traditional news outlet. I knew immediately PolicyMic was the place for me.
CC: You've got an impressive social media footprint in place. What are the advantages to using PolicyMic as your platform for your particular hot button issues? Any benefit to using PolicyMic over other media or social news outlets?
AC: The biggest benefit is that, as an on-call writer, I have an editor to whom I’m accountable for stories. I have a consistent schedule to write quality work, making for quality content I may not have found time to share otherwise — especially while working with TED and being a full-time student. Since I already had a following on other social media platforms, PolicyMic gave me the chance to write, publish and share consistently, which means my following is still growing today. Without a doubt, the biggest advantage I find at PolicyMic is the ease with which my work is published. The publishing team refines the articles, and typically there is little friction with the work I submit — meaning I get to share current events as quickly as if I was a head writer at another media outlet.
CC: What's one thing you'd like to see PolicyMic do differently? Why?
AC: With new technology comes a new form of media consumption, and I firmly believe that the best writers are the ones who can adapt — from writing, to radio, to video, to tweets. I would love to see PolicyMic begin a weekly video short with a pair of co-hosts to update the world on political/policy news. That way, readers and viewers can become more attached to a personality with ideas and be engaged to consume information in a different way. Because PolicyMic is a news outlet designed by millennials, for millennials — video is an extremely powerful way to appeal to a young generation. Plus, I bet PolicyMic would have a cool theme song.
C: You're a student, an intern, a blogger, and active PolicyMic pundit. Any advice to like-minded, busy millennials looking to use PolicyMic to empower their cause?
AC: I have two thoughts on this:
1. Consistency is king (or at least it should be). As hard as it may be, finding the time to write on a consistent schedule not only improves your writing with each piece, but also improves the way you think about your voice over the course of many years.
2. A smart writer knows that their content needs to be consumed, or else they might as well be talking to a brick wall. When you write consistently, your readers and viewers have a personality and a voice to follow. Fans are fickle, but they also respond well to authenticity; The more consistently you write, the more authentic you as a writer will become, and an audience picks up on that. Over time, they’ll begin to trust your opinions, and you'll have an interested, responsive community.
CC: Let's go offline. What do you like to do when you're not PolicyMic-in'?
AC: Other that being a full time student at NYU, my time is divided chiefly between three priorities.
The first is my own pet project called The Meme Factory. This is where I establish an "intellectually curious" personality by commenting on news through my own brand of satire. I host, produce, edit, and market all aspects of the show on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media platform you can name. I love this form of videography, and am hoping it will teach and give me the edge I need to be a top investigative correspondent one day with VICE.
I also indulge my business brain with my social venture Live To Give. My partner and I put together an online crowdfunding platform that allows people to take a personal story and market it to family and friends so that they can raise money for a charity they love. This kind of personal emphasis and outreach will transform a person from simple donor to hyper-effective fundraiser.
Lastly, I also work with TED as the Director of Global Operations at TEDxNYU. Here I create TED events at each of NYU’s global sites to share the spirit of student curiosity and game-changing ideas through media with my peers and colleagues abroad. I also have the wicked opportunity to represent NYU at TED conferences all over the map.
CC: OK, your turn. What's one question you have for a member of our staff?
AC: My question is for Mike Luciano. How do you and your co-workers play off each other's personal and professional strengths to improve yourselves and notably, your function for PolicyMic as a company?
Mike Luciano: It sounds cliché, but PolicyMic is very much a team effort. There's a lot of collaboration going on at any given time, from big picture items like developing new verticals to smaller things like coming up with the perfect headline for a single story. Each person brings a unique professional skill set and a unique personality with them, and it all meshes very well. That's important because our office isn't that big. I've had jobs where I absolutely hated having to interact with certain co-workers. Here that's not the case. I feel like I can have a beer with anyone in this office. Except the interns who are under 21. That would be illegal.
CC: Alex, thank you for your thoughtful perspectives and for being such a dedicated member of the PolicyMic community!
For more news on Alex, follow her on Twitter: @Veni_VidiVici