Mark W. Smith
Journalist in Washington, D.C., He/him
I'm a deputy managing editor at The Washington Post. I've spent my career shaping the digital ambitions of some of the country's largest newsrooms.
The Post's deputy managing editors are broadly responsible for the newsroom's daily news report. We rotate day-running responsibilities and direct the day's news report across all Post platforms when we're in the chair.
My role among the five deputy managing editors is to lead The Post's live news strategies and products.
In this role, I was responsible for The Post's work across social media platforms, search engine optimization, the newsroom's various editorial digital strategies and the digital workflows that supported those strategies.
I directly managed two teams: the social team and the newsroom's operations editors. The social team creates content for The Post's top-tier social media platforms. The operations editors are embedded in each newsroom section and are responsible for the digital strategies, workflows and metrics reporting in that section.
In early 2018, I became the deputy editor of The Washington Post's Audience team.
I edited and managed The Post's core social team, which owns the top accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also managed the editor of our comments section and other on-platform user generated content.
I taught 11 semesters of undergraduate and graduate journalism courses at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
Most of the courses were multimedia courses -- one for undergraduates and one for graduate students -- where students learned writing for the web, reporting, web design, HTML, CSS, interactive graphics and social media best practices.
I also developed and piloted a first-ever 16-week course on journalism metrics. Students learned how to use and read analytics platforms like Parse.ly and Chartbeat, how to develop a digital strategy anchored in measurable outcomes and how to navigate newsroom culture change.
I joined The Post in October 2014. My first focus was growth of mobile web traffic.
I spent my first full year leading a round of audience training for the entire newsroom. Through this training, we redefined the digital roles of reporters and editors and taught them how to write strong digital headlines in an effort to grow traffic. My training partner and I were awarded The Post's Publisher's Award in May 2015 for the effort.
I also then added editing responsibilities for search traffic and our comments section.
In November 2016, I became the editor of the core social team, which is responsible for the Washington Post's work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I shaped social strategy for USA TODAY, including development of brand voice, new social content strategies and the execution of emerging platforms. I also led USA TODAY's paid social activities, including acquisition and engagement campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon.
I led social strategy during USA TODAY's full brand relaunch in September 2012, which included the reveal of the daily changing logo. I brokered a partnership with Lady Gaga to be the first-ever (and still only) guest designer of a USA TODAY logo.
At the Detroit Free Press, I ran the website during the morning hours. This included assigning stories, editing and posting those stories and managing the site's homepage. I also built all the paper's social media accounts from zero followers. (It was a fun time in digital media, getting to build things from scratch.)
This is also where I started my love of metrics and news. I spent my days exploring Omniture, sending insights and recommendations to reporters and editors.
I anchored the paper's Web efforts during the Pulitzer-winning coverage of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's text message scandal in 2008 and 2009.
I also started to contribute writing to the Free Press' website as I spotted areas of potential audience growth. That led to a stint as the paper's technology columnist. My writing appeared in dozens of U.S. newspapers including USA TODAY, The Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune.
This was my first professional newsroom job after college. I managed the entirety of the paper's digital strategy. At the time, that was only half a job, so I also designed pieces of the print edition daily. I oversaw the paper's move to a more nimble blogging platform and taught reporters how to turn their beat into more regular digital output. (We called it blogging at the time.)
The Post's social team won this award for work during the 2016 election.