How did you connect this piece to social media? When first pitching this project, did you think of it as social-first?
We didn’t think of it as social-first, but it was a close-second. We used social to build a community around the project. On October 11, the day it launched, we asked readers to post photos of themselves at 18 — along with advice to their younger selves — with the hashtag #ThisIs18. We are still inviting people to do that.
How is journalism changing today?
We are in a time of rapid transformation because journalism today is inextricably linked to developments in technology and the behaviors of the people who read, watch and listen to our journalism. While updating the way we work to be sure we are able to reach our audiences wherever they may be, we have been able to remain true to our editorial judgment and journalistic principles across continents and platforms — we have over 1,450 journalists telling stories from over 150 countries each year and their journalism appears on everything from audio programs like “The Daily” to our social feeds to the front page of our print paper.
How have smartphones and social media changed photojournalism today?
Smartphones and social media mean that, in a way, we’re all journalists now. We’re all documenting the events that shape our lives every day. And some of the photos for #ThisIs18 were shot on smartphones, like Yasmine Malone’s photos of Madison, a teen mother in Mississippi.
How do legacy newspapers reach new audiences?
By doing projects like this! Global in scope, social in reach.
In such a saturated news cycle, why tell this story?
At The Times, we are lucky to be both committed to breaking the big news each day but also investing in deeply-reported journalism and longer term projects like this one. We also believe that girls who are coming of age during this wild news cycle deserve to have their voices heard and their lives understood.
What were you doing at 18? What were your goals at 18 and have you achieved them?
I had just finished producing a ‘zine actually! (I made a ‘zine called Love from my bedroom in Connecticut from the ages of 15 to 17.) I was also reading the Styles section — in print — religiously and thinking that those were the types of stories I wanted to tell. So doing a ‘zine at The New York Times as an editor on the Styles section was loaded with significance for me.