Hi! I’m Mandy Jenkins. I am a journalist, nerd, wife and friend to animals. Right now, I’m on the hunt for my next full-time adventure. In the meantime, I’m working as a social/digital media gun for hire: Offering audits, training and advice to journalists, newsrooms and businesses on their digital and social media strategies.
I’ve been working in online news my entire career so far, so you’ll see no rueful reminiscing about ink-stained fingers here.
I started in digital journalism at a time when most jobs didn’t yet have titles, there were just tasks to be done and few people with the skills to do them. Because of this, I have had to pave my own way at every company I’ve worked for, making my own jobs and trying to do whatever I can to contribute to a future for news.
I’ve had a wide range of experience from working in established, traditional newsrooms as well as innovative digital startups. I was part of the ground up teams at TBD and Digital First Media’s Project Thunderdome – both places where innovation and experimentation was built into the DNA. At the latter, I helped build and eventually managed a 45-person newsroom responsible for producing new products and creating engaging stories through experimental story forms, exceptional multimedia/interactive presentations and innovative data journalism.
When I was starting out as an overnight web producer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, I wanted to do more than just shovel print stories online. I helped to start a breaking news blog, staff blog network and daily news podcast. In 2007, when social media was emerging as a potential game-changer for media, I (unsolicited) created a social media strategy at the Cincinnati Enquirer, where I became one of the first social media editors in Gannett. I went on to manage the social media and engagement for TBD, which, in its short time of existence, was heralded for its use of using social media for newsgathering and reader acquisition.
Working as part of the creative and innovative social media and trends team on the politics desk at The Huffington Post early in the 2012 presidential race, I got the chance to take engagement to the next level by running the company’s citizen journalism program OfftheBus. In the time since, I’ve been working with journalists across the United States and abroad to establish and evolve their digital skills and social media savvy through training programs, workshops and research.
I received my B.S. in journalism at Kent State University, where I feel I learned what it really means to be a journalist at the Daily Kent Stater. I liked KSU so much that I stuck around to get a Master’s in media management two years later on a fellowship with WKSU (NPR). It was then when I really caught the online bug and starting filling my brain with multimedia skills. If I hadn’t stayed in school, I’d probably still be trying to get a job as a reporter.
Today, I’m living in NYC with my husband, Ben Fischer, and our cats. Ben’s also a journalist – working as a reporter for the New York Business Journal.