Philip Lewis is the Front Page Evening Editor at HuffPost.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
Before I started working in media, I worked in education. I taught for a while, as a middle school teacher and substitute. But I was always extremely active on social media. So much so, that I started to gain an audience due to the things I would say and the stories I would share.
A friend of mine encouraged me to get involved in the world of media, but I wasn’t sure what to do, or how to go about it. I ended up applying to a bunch of fellowships and internships with zero experience, so I was rejected by all except one: The Huffington Post Political Reporting Fellowship. Although it was a very sharp learning curve, I managed to do well.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I am an evening editor, so technically my day ‘starts’ at 4 pm. However, as soon as I wake up in the morning, I’m instantly checking Slack, checking social media to make sure the world hadn’t ended. When I get into work, I’m checking to see what stories I need to be caught up on and what needs to be placed onto HuffPost.com. I’m also sometimes copyediting stories and managing HuffPost’s social media pages later on in the evening after certain teams sign off.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE? (YOUR APPS, PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS, ETC.)
I have two screens. I have Tweetdeck and Slack up on one screen, and my browser on the other. My browser will usually have one billion tabs open, so I try to narrow them down when I can. I also use Dataminr, and I’ll have that running in the background. I use SocialFlow to handle HuffPost’s social media posts.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET INSPIRED?
I create a list of things to do in my planner. Handling those tasks and crossing them off the list inspires me.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
My favorite quote right now: “When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.” -Toni Morrison.
I try to use my platform to empower others, especially those that come from where I come from.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING/INNOVATIVE THING YOU HAVE SEEN ON ANOTHER OUTLET OTHER THAN YOUR OWN?
Great question! So Buzzfeed has been doing some great reporting on the little idiosyncrasies of social media. Back in June, a Buzzfeed reporter wrote ‘Inside The Chaotic Battle To Be The Top Reply To A Trump Tweet,’ which was about the insane people who fight to get that top reply spot under President Trump’s tweets. I was quoted in the story as well. Another great piece was about the odd, viral practice known as ‘decking tweets.’ These stories might not be on the radar of folks that don’t use social media, but I find them interesting.
WHAT’S THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
I’m passionately tackling the lack of positive representation black men have in mainstream media. My role at HuffPost isn’t really to write, but whenever I see a story that I believe would be great for people to know about, I try to share it.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT?
1. Be open to fellowships and internships, but make sure they are paid! An internship, at least for me, was my way into the field. I wasn’t paid amazingly, but I was paid. Slavery is over, and you should be paid for your work.
2. Be prepared to take criticism. You will not get better unless you’re open to taking critique. Journalism is not the field for you if you aren’t willing to take criticism.