The Collegian AIG sponsored two Zoom Roundtables with experts early in September and more are scheduled for later this fall.

The first was held Sept. 6 with digital marketing expert Krystle Kopacz, CEO at Revmade, an award-winning marketing strategy company. That roundtable can be viewed here.

The second, held Sept. 13 was with social media expert Daniel Victor, Senior Live Editor at The New York Times. That roundtable can be viewed here.

To attend future Zoom roundtables, please click here to sign up and connection information will be emailed to you.

Collegian Editor-in-chief Nick Stonesifer and Business Manager Luke Vargas interviewed Kopacaz, who was managing editor of The Daily Collegian in 2006-07.

After spending more than a decade working in editorial and advertising at digital media companies, Kopacaz started Revmade in 2016 to help companies improve content marketing performance and build better audience relationships.

She told the students that the skills she honed at The Collegian have aided her in her career more than her classes at Penn State did. “No matter what I did in my career,” she said, “I called on my experience at The Collegian.”

She said Collegian alumni went on in life to be successful because “they learned to work hard and navigate a workplace.” She urged the students on the call to be open to job experiences that are not in traditional news settings.

She also gave the students advice on building their audience, determining what the audience wants, leadership and raising revenue.

About 20 Collegian students and alumni joined Class of 2006 Penn State graduate Victor, a social media specialist for the AIG’s Sept. 13 Zoom Roundtable discussion.

Victor, a native of the State College area, spoke about how the role of social media in news delivery has evolved through his career, which included stints at the Harrisburg Patriot News, Philadelphia Inquirer and Pro Publica in addition to the Times.

Victor shared with Collegian staffers stories about his role in developing the Times’ presence on Twitter, where, he said, he helped the newspaper develop a distinct personality that was different than what readers had come to expect from the print product.

“It was such an interesting task, and it was something that didn’t exist,” Victor said. “We could see this incredible discussion forming online, and we tried to broaden it into a larger discussion. These were things we know that people were going to want to read.”

While Twitter clicks aren’t always effective at driving audiences to a newspaper’s website, they do help journalists determine what readers want. One story that fell into that category was a piece Victor wrote about the creator of the popular word game app Wordle.

“It could have easily been something that we wouldn’t have bothered with,” he said, but, in fact, it became an immensely popular story.

For journalists to be successful on social media, Victor said, “it’s a combination of numbers and keeping an eye on things that can reach a new audience or give a voice to new people.”

“One of the great things about social media is that it does reward personality,” he said. “Personality-driven writing isn’t something we should be shying away from.”

For young journalists trying to find their way into an ever-evolving industry, Victor had this advice: Stick to the basics by developing strong reporting and writing skills that can be used in any medium.

Barbara Stack

I started my journalism career at The Daily Collegian, where I covered cops, "radicals and minorities," and served as editorial page editor. After graduation, I worked as a reporter and feature writer for two community papers, The Tribune-Review and the Beaver County Times, before being hired by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I worked for the Post-Gazette for 27 years as a reporter, assistant city editor and editorial page writer. For a decade I covered issues regarding children and families, and a series of stories I wrote, along with a court case I persuaded the Post-Gazette to pursue, led to an order opening to the press and public dependency hearings in Pennsylvania juvenile court. In 2007, I began working as a blog writer for the United Steelworkers Union, composing blogs and op-eds that were published in the name of the union's international president. I am now retired and working as a consultant for The Pittsburgh Foundation's communications department.