For this week’s Meet the Media, we’d like you to meet Starla Sampaco, the host and producer of GeekWire’s online tech news show, TLDR. Previously, she covered state legislation as a host for TVW and has worked behind the scenes at KING 5 and KIRO 7.
- How did you find yourself as a host/video producer at GeekWire?
During my senior year at the University of Washington, GeekWire reporter Taylor Soper was my assigned “journalism mentor.” Through Taylor, I met the founders of GeekWire, Todd Bishop and John Cook. Luckily, they were looking for a video host and producer around the same time that I was looking for a job.
2. Which of your stories are you most proud of?
I’m very passionate about diversity and inclusion, so I love working on stories that highlight the value of diversity, like a recent TLDR episode on Microsoft’s Ability Summit (shoutout to our intern Kaitlyn Wang for her help on the segment!) and my Seattle Globalist video on Sikh Americans in Seattle. Right now, I’m working on a video for Immigrants Heritage Month in June that features foreign-born leaders in tech and business.
3. What is your favorite thing about your job?
The people I get to meet and interview! I’ve met some really successful industry leaders since I started working here. I love hearing their stories about the challenges they faced, how they overcame these challenges, and how they use their platforms to help others succeed.
4. What is your interview style?
My interview style is conversational. This is especially important when conducting video interviews. Sometimes people get uncomfortable when they know they’re being recorded, so it helps to make them feel like they’re just talking to another person, not to a camera.
5. What do you look for in a story?
When looking for stories to cover in TLDR, I always think about my audience and what they value. We have a national audience, and our audience is interested in news about technology, business, innovation and startups.
6. What is your day like at your job?
In the mornings, I usually work from home to avoid sitting in Seattle traffic. I decide which stories I’ll cover on the show, write the scripts, and track down visuals and b-roll to include in the video. We are a national news site, so I don’t always have the opportunity to shoot footage myself. However, when big tech news happens in Seattle, like the recent Amazon shareholders meeting, I really enjoy getting out into the field and shooting video. In the afternoon, I drive to work to record voice-overs and the on-camera portions of the show at the GeekWire studio, and then I edit the videos myself. After incorporating suggestions from my editors, I publish the video to YouTube.
… But that’s not all! Then comes distribution. I am in charge of sending the TLDR email list and promoting the latest episode on social media. I reformat the videos and export different versions for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram Stories. TLDR is also available as a podcast and Alexa flash briefing, so our podcast editor, Clare McGrane, distributes the show’s audio. The next morning, I’ll take a look at the analytics and see how the video performed on the different platforms. As you can probably tell, these videos require A LOT of work even though they’re only 2 or 3 minutes long!
7. Who do you most look up to in the journalism industry?
I’m really inspired by Lori Matsukawa, who anchors the evening news on KING 5. I grew up watching her on TV. During my internship at KING, we discussed the lack of diversity in media, and she encouraged me to use my power as a journalist to amplify the voices of other people and identities who might have been silenced or marginalized. She began her career at a time when it was much harder for women and people of color to succeed in the industry. I’m so grateful to Lori for her mentorship and for paving the way for other journalists.
8. What is your favorite news outlet?
GeekWire, of course!
9. Fill in the blank:
- If I am not reporting, I am… looking for a puppy to adopt on adoptapet.com! One of my favorite things about GeekWire is that we have a dog-friendly office.
- If I could interview anyone, it would be… Taylor Swift.
- My favorite thing about Seattle is… its diversity.
10. What is your guilty pleasure?
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