Meet Valerie Streit: Media Ecologist, Producer, Writer, and ReporterJuly 24, 2009
It seems fitting that the first place I went to find out more about CNN producer Valerie Streit was a blog. According to the post, at the height of the swine flu Valerie, a 2004–05 Career Development Grant recipient, was glued to various screens during her vacation in, of all places, Mexico. Going from iPhone to BlackBerry to TV screen and back again, Valerie followed the news carefully. After her return, she began blogging about her healthy homecoming. This dedication to media is a sure sign of a true communications professional. Valerie explained, “My iPhone wakes me up in the morning and tucks me in at night.” In fact, she admits she can’t remember what her life was like before cell phones and computers.
This AAUW grant program alumna had been working as a local TV news producer in San Francisco and San Diego for five years when she felt she hit a creative and intellectual wall. That realization sent Valerie back to school to pursue a master’s degree, in part thanks to aid from the AAUW grant. “I felt compelled to explore the possibilities of emerging forms of media. I was also inspired by the fact that consumers were experimenting with more affordable and accessible production tools and becoming their own producers of media.”
These interests sent Valerie to New York University to pursue media ecology, the study of media environments. Pointing to the surging Twitter craze, Valerie explained, “A tool like Twitter comes along and revolutionizes communication by delimiting messages to 140 characters or less. A media ecologist would ask, How might this platform enable and inhibit communication and reset our experience of the world?”
Social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook are Valerie’s passions. In her current position at CNN, Valerie spends a lot of time monitoring social media outlets and looking for new trends. “I feel like I have an amazing opportunity to invent new forms of storytelling and share our content across a growing number of platforms and online communities,” explained Valerie. Looking ahead to the future, Valerie says she hopes to “harness the power of social media to reach the people whose stories we rarely hear about.”