Editor’s note: In an ongoing series, INMA is profiling our most engaged members — our super fans — to give members a chance to learn more about each other. Today we profile Gabriella Vukelic, social media editor for Newsday in Melville, New York, in the United States.
Trends in the social media world and how journalism is changing on these growing platforms are being shaped by the younger generation, said Newsday’s youngest editor, Gabriella Vukelic, social media editor for Newsday in Melville, New York, in the United States. And it changes how companies reach their audiences, too.
“By far, the craziest job I’ve done in media is trying to make our new mascot, Scoop, a social media influencer,” Vukelic recalled. “We’re building his social platforms from the ground up and creating his personality. Journalism school definitely didn’t prepare me for this!”
That unexpected experience has introduced Vukelic to a target audience of Millennials who now have children and want to take photos and do TikTok challenges with Scoop. “Those Millennials will hopefully be our future subscribers and help Newsday shape the stories we are writing about,” she said.
INMA recently caught up with Vukelic to learn more about her.
INMA: What big lesson have you learned over the past couple of years that helped shape your plans for 2022?
Vukelic: I’ve learned that consistency is key to success. Being the youngest editor at Newsday comes with challenges because sometimes I feel like I’m representing a whole generation by myself. But I’ve made strides in educating my colleagues about trends in the social media world and how journalism is changing on these growing platforms and being shaped by the younger generation.
INMA: If you had your career to do over again, what would you want to know in the beginning?
Vukelic: I would want to know that it’s not going to be a straight path; it’s going to come with obstacles. But being persistent pays off!
INMA: What makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning?
Vukelic: Knowing that I’m making a difference on Long Island and that my job will never be the same every day. Social media is always changing, so I’m always learning and finding new ways of getting our journalism out to our audience.
INMA: What success within your company are you most proud of right now?
Vukelic: I’m definitely most proud of the texting service a coworker and I grew during the pandemic. I’ve always wanted to be a host for text messaging or a newsletter to better reach my generation. I was able to connect with Long Islanders during a lonely time and got to be myself in the way I was reaching the audience. That audience has grown to more than 6,500 subscribers and has helped shape our coverage, given us tips, sources, and ideas for future stories.
INMA: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Vukelic: Patience. While the job itself is fast-paced and always keeps me on my toes, sometimes making bigger projects or initiatives happen takes a lot of time. Being patient has also helped me in my daily duties and content creation. I always ask myself: We may not get that viral video that others have, but how do you shape your story so it still stands out in the crowd?
INMA: What do you do to relax?
Vukelic: What’s that? Just kidding. I love to bake, play tennis, watch movies, and take walks. Oh, and I’ve reconnected with my childhood love and started taking — and teaching! — dance class again.
INMA: If you hadn’t gone into news media, what was your backup plan?
Vukelic: My backup plan would have probably been to become an English or journalism teacher at a local school because I love writing and storytelling and can’t see myself doing anything else.
INMA: What is your favourite thing to read?
Vukelic: True crime!
INMA: What do you find the most challenging/interesting about the news media industry right now?
Vukelic: Learning the way Gen Z digests news and information. For example, we’ve started reporting breaking news using Instagram Reels, when a few years ago that platform was only about strong visuals and lifestyle content. And we’ve ramped up using graphics on all platforms, to get the news out in a more relatable way.