Jessica Coen

From Gawker to Vanity Fair: Transitioning from Digital to Traditional Media

The Recount,

Jessica Coen

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What You'll Learn

  • How an innovative and adaptable approach to digital media drove her career.
  • Media consumption has significantly shifted towards video, especially among younger audiences, making platforms like TikTok crucial for news engagement.
  • The intersection of tech and culture shapes the media narrative, with consumer tech reporting and lighter, culturally-focused content on the rise.
  • In the face of changing algorithms and business models, content must remain relevant and relatable to the intended audience.
  • The upcoming months are crucial for journalism as the U.S. navigates through another election season, with an emphasis on making the news more accessible and understandable for the public.

We Been Drankin'

Hendrick’s and Tonics

Episode Details

About the Guest(s):

Jessica Coen is an accomplished media executive with extensive experience in the digital journalism landscape. Growing up in a media-heavy household, Coen’s passion for journalism was sparked at a young age, leading her to ultimately pursue a career in the field. She has held various editorial positions, including her early role as editor of Gawker and later endeavours at Vanity Fair and New York Magazine. Coen is known for her innovative approach to journalism, especially her successful pursuit of video storytelling to engage audiences. In her current role, she’s focusing on reaching younger demographics through political news video content at the Recount.

Episode Summary:

In this episode of Story in a Bottle, host Dan Maccarone delves deep into the world of journalism with media expert Jessica Coen. The conversation unfolds over a Hendrix gin and tonic, discussing Coen’s journey from her Detroit roots to the forefront of digital news.

Jessica shares her early encounters with journalism, transitioning from a die-hard reader to an influential media personality. She reflects on her decision to forgo journalism school for real-world experience at Gawker, establishing a candid voice that resonated with a large audience. Her career is a testament to navigating the ebbs and flows of tech, media, and entertainment, especially as she spearheaded the launch of Jezebel and influenced the growth of Mashable.

Key points in the discussion include the evolution of news consumption, the impact of social media on public engagement, and the role of video in reaching younger demographics. Coen emphasizes the importance of relatable content and the necessity of adapting to the viewer’s needs in a rapidly changing media environment.

Notable Quotes:

  • “If you’re passionate about getting information to audiences, you should be on video.”
  • “It’s about the actual issue at hand, whether it’s funding for Ukraine or woman’s reproductive rights or censorship in schools.”
  • “Journalism has to kind of follow the lessons of the creator economy.”
  • “What does this election really mean? Like, let’s really talk about what these platforms are.”
  • “The quickest way you fall off your high horse is when you have to do the layoffs.”


Tune into the full episode to hear Jessica Coen’s inspiring story and gain deeper insights into the evolving landscape of journalism. Stay engaged with compelling discussions on Story and a Bottle for more perspectives from leading voices in tech, media, and entertainment.


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