Qwestion & Answer with Stephanie Thurrott, Freelance Journalist

Madelynne Kislovsky February 15, 2021

Qwoted is committed to exploring the current state of the media by speaking to industry leaders and educating future generations of media professionals. What has social media and technological innovation brought to the table? What can we expect for the future of journalism?

Black and white image of freelance journalist Stephanie Thurrott.

Stephanie Thurrott is an experienced freelance journalist and content creator covering a wide range of human interest topics such as productivity, personal growth, food, health, fitness, family, and personal finance. Previously a staff writer at McMurry (now Manifest) and Forbes, Thurrott pursued freelancing full time in 2002 and has secured bylines in publications including Today.com, Medium, NBC, Considerable, and Boston Home and Garden.

What advice would you give to aspiring young writers and reporters?

ST: Stay curious. Consume content outside of your area of expertise–that’s how you’ll make smart connections. Don’t focus so much on building your brand, but explore ways you can use social media and new technology to tell your stories in different ways and reach different people.

What learnings have made a tremendous difference in your career?

ST: Learning how to get away from the formulaic approach to newswriting we used to learn in school and moving toward storytelling that resonates with readers on a personal level.

The profession of journalism feels more attacked today than in a long time, but also highly necessary. Do you feel that’s true, and if so, why?

ST: I don’t know whether it’s attacked as much as overshadowed. When a Facebook meme gets lots more attention than a NY Times article, what does that say about the way people value journalism?

Social media has upended the traditional media landscape. One of the great challenges it creates is authenticity and malevolent actors. How do think journalists and reporters should deal with the rising tide of misinformation?

ST: Journalists can discredit and disprove the misinformation, and that’s valuable, but it’s bailing out the Titanic with a teacup. There’s no way to keep up with the viral spread. It needs to be regulated and stopped at the source. Once journalists can address misinformation it’s too late.

What do you see as some of journalism’s biggest potential pitfalls? And what gives you hope for the future of journalism?

ST: I’d like to see value added for journalists who cover local news. It’s important to have those boots on the ground at the zoning meeting, but where’s the money for that? I’m hopeful that we’ll hear and read more diverse voices going forward and that will expand understanding and bring us all closer together.

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