Feb 14, 2018
30 Under 30, Class of ’18: Taylor Trudon, Brand Marketing Manager at The New York Times
Neighborhood: Cobble Hill
Most Likely To: Ask For Your Wifi Password Immediately Upon Entering Your Home
Favorite Quote: “Everything is copy.” – Nora Ephron
If you’ve seen young people’s voices amplified, there’s a good chance Taylor Trudon was working in the background. Formerly the editor of the Huffington Post’s Teen vertical and MTV News’ Youth Special Projects Editor, which included launching the MTV Founders program for college students, (where she interviewed Michelle Obama) Taylor is adamant about providing avenues for young people to feel a sense of agency. Now at the New York Times, Taylor works as a brand marketing manager in community engagement; a continuation of her deep integration with audience participation. Though her scope has broadened from teens and college students to a broader and bigger audience, she says she’s still most inspired by teenage girls, who are leading the revolution.
What is your earliest memory associated with what you do now?
When I was in fifth grade, I watched the movie Almost Famous for the first time at my friend’s house. Almost Famous is inspired by Cameron Crowe’s real-life experiences as a teen reporter for Rolling Stone and it was hugely influential for me. Aside from a stellar soundtrack and an incredible cast, I loved how it told the story of a 15-year-old journalist, showing that there are no age limits when it comes to storytelling. I remember watching the movie and thinking, “I want to do that.”
When did your occupation become real to you?
Being co-editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper along with my best friend (and current roommate) confirmed that I wanted to work in journalism and made me realize that it was more than just the thrill of a byline. But I really fell in love with community-building at my first job after college, which was at the Huffington Post.
I was responsible for overseeing the blogger community for HuffPost’s Teen vertical and it was through that role that I experienced the power of the internet in terms of building real connections. Despite being scattered all over the country, the teen writers I worked with built this incredible, supportive online space for themselves—and it all manifested from this common desire to share stories. When I first started out in journalism, I knew I wanted to be a storyteller and reach people, but I never anticipated that a big part of my job would be helping others reach one another.
How does Brooklyn/your neighborhood particularly inform your work?
To me, Brooklyn feels very synonymous with “community.” As someone whose job it is to help grow community at the New York Times, I have to ask myself questions like, “How can we elevate diverse reader voices? What can we do as a brand to show readers we’re listening? How can we build deeper connections?”
In a lot of ways, I think those same questions can be applied to where I live now. I am very cognizant of the fact that I am a white, cis, heterosexual woman; and with that comes enormous privilege. I need to ask myself as a community member, “How can I use this privilege to bring more visibility to social issues? How can I help shine a spotlight on marginalized identities? How can I be as inclusionary as possible?”
What do you feel is most challenging about being where you are now?
One of the more challenging aspects of life is confronting imposter syndrome. At some point in your career, I think everyone asks themselves, “Am I good at this? Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?” It can be difficult to silence that voice in your head, so I have to constantly remind myself that I’m where I’m supposed to be—or at the very least, on my way.
What’s most rewarding?
What’s most rewarding is moving back to Brooklyn this summer after a year of living in L.A. I’m really grateful to have had that West Coast experience, but being in New York—Brooklyn, specifically—feels like an exhale. I feel lucky to be back in this city, in this community, with a newfound appreciation.
Before I moved to L.A., I repeatedly told myself, “You can always move back to New York.” And I did. It feels rewarding to be able to take a risk, but also rewarding to have the freedom to change your mind.
5 spots in Brooklyn people should know about?
- Books Are Magic — I live right around the corner from this indie bookstore and everything about it (especially the wall mural outside) is Insta-worthy.
- Barely Disfigured — It’s a chic and sexy cocktail bar that recently opened on Smith Street in Cobble Hill. Fun fact: It also apparently used to be a brothel.
- Bulletin — It’s like a feminist candy store. I literally want to buy everything in there. (They also have Soho and Flatiron locations.)
- Spritzenhaus — This beer hall has pretzels, my favorite Bloody Mary’s, AND Jenga.
- Walter Foods — Deliciously cozy comfort food. I only just discovered this restaurant very recently and am deeply upset that I did not know of its existence during the three years I lived in Williamsburg. Their burgers are A+
What’s your most significant accomplishment to date?
Professionally, it would be interviewing Michelle Obama. I’ve had the opportunity to interview some really incredible people throughout my career, but it was truly a surreal moment to be sitting nearly knee-to-knee with the [former] First Lady of the United States. Afterwards, she told me I had “the cutest dimples” and I pretty much died.
That day felt like the ultimate testimony to all the hard work I had done throughout the years; from the multiple unpaid internships to putting myself through college to moving to New York by myself with a few suitcases three months after I graduated.
More personally—and I can’t single-out just one example—it would be the messages I’ve received from teenagers throughout the years, thanking me for giving them a platform for their writing to make them feel valued and heard. It’s beyond rewarding when a young person says you’ve helped them find their voice.
Who/what inspires you?
Teenage girls. They’re casually leading a powerful revolution with equal parts activism and optimism.
Thinking about the future, where do you see yourself in the next 30 years?
I see myself having published a book. Ideally, I will also have a Nancy Meyers-esque kitchen, more stamps in my passport, and a French bulldog (who has their own semi-viral Instagram account, obviously).
Hopefully, we will have significantly more women holding political office. I will still be making #content, advocating for young voices, and will continued to be obsessed with the internet.
What’s next for you?
The big project I’m working on now is helping to build a Facebook community for the Reader Center at The New York Times. The goal is to deepen the connection between journalists and readers, while fostering debate and discussion. We have participants representing different nationalities, political ideologies, religions and more. Not only is it exciting to have the opportunity to create something from scratch, but I’m looking forward to elevating reader voices and using their stories and experiences to help shape our journalism.
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