For this week’s Media Monday we’d like you to meet Britt Thorson, Managing Editor of Seattle Refined.
Let’s get to know Britt a little bit more!
- How did you find yourself as the editor at Seattle Refined?
Several years ago, Fisher Communications was acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group. I was a recent hire for Fisher Communications at the time, and thought I was sure to be a goner – “last hired first fired” kind of thing. Thankfully, one of Sinclair’s first projects was testing out whether adding lifestyle websites in conjunction with their news stations platforms would work, and they wanted to try it a KOMO News first. I owe a lot to several folks here at KOMO who trusted in me and gave me a shot to get behind the creation and existence of what turned out to be Seattle Refined, launched in February of 2014. Sinclair’s “test project” worked well enough in Seattle that Cincinnati Refined and DC Refined have respectively launched as well in the last two and a half years.
2. Which of your stories/shows are you most proud of?
Tough question! In the last three years I have been able to cover and write so so many stories, and I wish I could say I remember all of them but…my memory unfortunately isn’t that spectacular. I would say one of my recent favorites was “Puponomics”: The Supply & Demand of Puppies in Seattle. We joke around Refined that puppies and animals are pretty much our bread and butter, but this story was more than just cute faces. There is an amazing company called Georgia Peaches Puppy Rescue that essentially flies puppies from an overloaded, high-kill environment (Georgia) to a underserved Seattle where puppies are hard to find and get adopted quickly. After doing this story I signed my mom up to be a foster parent!
3. What is your favorite thing about your job?
My friends make fun of me because my Twitter bio says “Passionate Seattleite”…but it’s true! I was born and raised here, and when I went away to Los Angeles for school I realized just how much I missed and love the vibe of Seattle. I’m the girl who spends the whole night arguing with some poor fool who offhandedly says “Seattle rains so much”. My job allows me to research and experience the amazingness of the city I love, and then write about it….couldn’t get much better.
4. What is your interview style?
I try to keep it super conversational. Some interviewees are extremely media-coached, and spend the whole interview trying to remember exactly what to say and just end up reciting it out when I ask questions. That’s not what we want! Getting them to understand that we want to get the best of out them, that we’re not here to try and trip them up or get them to say something salacious or embarrassing is half the battle. It helps that Seattle Refined isn’t a “hard news” outlet, so I’m never trying to “get to the bottom” of something or grill anyone. I legitimately am talking to them probably because I think they’re doing something cool, and want to hear their story! Being a mainly online writer also means I usually don’t have a camera recording video (although that is now starting to change with Facebook Live) and so that immediately makes people a little more at ease. I try to be fun, and make them comfortable.
5. What do you look for in a story?
Is it interesting? Why would people care? Is it visual (pictures LEAD on a website, so I am always thinking about what the main story image could be). There are also just some things that we have learned our readers like and click on every single time like animals, Seahawks, food and real estate eye candy, etc.
6. What is your day like at your job?
Different every day! Which can be amazing and hard, I’m a creature of routine and there definitely isn’t much routine here. Every night before I head to bed I look at the next day and decide what the schedule will be. Some days are spent at the office in meetings, some mostly out at shoots and interviews, and sometimes I just have to hole up in a coffee shop or at home to write and catch up! I’m lucky to work for a company and in a medium where I can pretty much do my job anywhere there is WiFi. Similarly, you’ve never seen a freakout until you’ve seen me somewhere I don’t have any bars!
7. Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?
Arianna Huffington. She spoke at my sister’s Vassar graduation last year and I fell in love! I had always admired her business acumen and growing HuffPo like she did, but she is also a funny, approachable and relatable speaker.
8. What is your favorite news outlet?
I get almost all my new from KOMONews.com (I’m biased I know), and CNN for more specific national/international news. For editorial, opinion and lighter stuff I am usually at Slate or Huffington Post. And finally, where I go to get inspiration for Seattle Refined: Refinery 29, Buzzfeed and my sister sites Cincinnati Refined and DC Refined.
9. What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians in my sweatpants and eating Lay’s Southern Biscuits and Gravy chips.
Fill in the blank:
- If I am not editing/writing, I am…sleeping, cuddling my dog or at the gym!
- If I could interview anyone, it would be…I’m always thinking hyper-local because that is what we cover, so I’ll stick with Seattleites for now. I’d love an in-depth, no-holds-barred pass at Ben Haggerty (Macklemore), to talk more deeply about growing up in Seattle, being a white rapper, favorite haunts around Seattle, etc.
- My favorite thing about Seattle is…the fresh air, how you can look to the left and see mountains and to the right and see sea, the seasons and how they bring such different looks to the city, the people (laid back), the style (sweatpants for the win!)…I could go on and on and on.