MELISSA BELL: Our role model for women leaders in independent media
“It is very hard to be a women in any industry, but particularly at the media industry. The more power we can have as a group, the better our industries will be”, said Melissa when she started her conference at the NVL.
She started her career as a journalist. Now she is the Publisher of Vox Media, the fastest growing modern media company known for its standout technology, high-fidelity advertising, and editorial networks that go deeper into the topics passionate people care about most. She is responsible for editorial strategy and development of the company’s networks, including SB Nation, Eater, The Verge, Vox, Curbed, Recode, Racked, and Polygon. Bell is also the co-founder of Vox, Vox Media’s flagship network known for explaining the news.
Melissa has been named one of the Most Connected Women by Marie Claire, Most Powerful Women in Washington by the Washingtonian, and a top media Changemaker by Digiday.
Prior to Vox Media, Melissa oversaw digital platforms at the Washington Post, where she was also one of The Post’s most-read bloggers and a columnist for the Style section. Before joining The Post, she helped launch Mint, a Wall Street Journal subsidiary in India, where she lived for four years. She hails from San Diego, California and makes a mean banana-and-cheese quesadilla.
Here are the most helpful lessons when you start your our media project.
- There is something incredible special about founders. It is one of the most meaningful relationships you can form, a partnership in business is similar to any partnership you form in life. I’ve learned so much from these two guys who are the others co-founders. The biggest thing was how to fight well. I really want you to think about, in your own relashipships, how you get to a better conclusion because of the relationship you have from each other. You fight about the ideas, not about each other. You have to fight to get to the best idea and you have to learn to bring different things to the table. Think about what is the value of each of you!
- I’m the only woman in the team. There is something very valuable to represent women in leadership, to show our team that women could lead as well. And that something I’m so proud. Is not just your story that you’re telling. Is the story of women that will come after you.
- We have to exist in this complicated world and the way you can focus is by think of a better audience. Our company goal is to engage modern audiences with a largest, most respected multimedia network and programming. We think about this as the intersection of quality, technology and our internal culture respect to the people that work at our company and our audience. Nothing I’ve done in my career couldn’t been accomplished without the people I work with and you have to speak about it everyday.
- You have to be able to know your audience through data. It’s incredible important! Analyze the data. A lot of people, a lot of me, a lot of journalist don’t feel comfortable with numbers and it takes a lot for me look at a chart and understand what is happening. But, I have to tell you that pushing myself to think about numbers have hugely add to my career.
- We have to be able to tell important and meaningful stories. We have to make sure that our creators cand build loyal relationships. Audiences across the world have lost trust in media organizations, but they continue to trust individuals. The more we can help people to understand how we report, the better will be.
- I’m constantly listening to people and asking them what they think about our work. Not to just rely on data but you have to go out and talk to people. I have at the bottom of every story in vox is a box that ask whether the story was helpful or not. And is the story wasn’t helpful they can share this story. If the story wasn’t helpful and they give me a thumbs down I ask them to tell me why the story wasn’t helpful. We do a lot’s of surveys also.
- We share what we’ve learned. You can do this on teams of two, on a team of a thousand. But we have to make sure that we’re documenting our lessons, that we’re writing down what we have found out. You will save so much time and energy if you document since the first time.
- Don’t be afraid to try. It’s hard to say this product will solve all problems in journalism. But we learned so much from our products, from what worked on it and we were able to create a product from those lessons. We also are able to say this things don’t work. Often times I think we see mistakes but we think about them as lessons.
- The more people I talk to, people who were in the business but also friend, the more reading my business plan became. Reach people that you admire!