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  • Sophie Lee

Nicole Nguyen

Nicole Nguyen. Getty Images.

Katch University welcomed Nicole Nguyen, who reflected on her current position as a Personal Tech columnist at the Wall Street Journal as well as her experiences at BuzzFeed News and PopSugar. Nguyen provided inters with valuable insight as both a tech specialist, journalist, and senior storyteller. "Shut up and listen. The moment of silence after the ordinary answer is the gem. It's when people reveal their stories," Nguyen stated. Nguyen also emphasized the importance of listening as a storyteller. She spoke about her experience in consumer technology journalism as someone without an engineering background, and how that allowed her to listen more carefully in order to become an "advocate for the normals." Walking the interns through her career, Nguyen spoke about the beginning of her career in Washington, D.C. as an aspiring political journalist. She said that it was initially this experience that drew her away from politics as she discovered a new interest in tech. "I thought the center of power was in Washington, D.C. It wasn't - it was in the Bay area with the rising tech companies."

As an important skill set to have as a journalist of our time, Nguyen highlighted video creation. She explained that media consumers expect video content now and want to consume articles in more ways than just text, prompting journalists to translate their work into all these new mediums. Nguyen also shared her insight on the death of print media and the rise of podcasts, claiming that print media is indeed dying but not because people have stopped reading. "People read more than ever," she explained as she provided statistics about enhanced long-form journalism engagement, "it's just the platform has moved online." Nguyen also noted that because of niche fan-based culture podcasts, the podcasting format will probably not becomes more popular then TV or written content.

Nguyen shared meaningful insight regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and its impact on the journalism world. Nguyen explained that the movement became a starting point for the industry to reflect on themselves, with deep introspection on the format of authority deeply rooted in the world of journalism intertwined with years and years of connections and an Ivy League-based legacy.. Nguyen also described that the best way to support more diversity in the field was to "sponsor, instead of mentor." She elaborated by claiming that sponsorship is a more direct and impactful way of connecting POC writers to seniors and executives, whereas mentorship would still be a meaningful, but less impactful, more passive means of support such as giving advice. Nguyen left Katch University with a gem of advice to conclude her talk. "Practice makes perfect," she told Katch interns, "[and] practice even if you don't have an audience."


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