Amy O’Leary Discusses Lessons Learned

"In 2007, as digital people, we were expected to be 100 percent deferent"

Amy O’Leary, who recently announced she was leaving The New York Times to join Upworthy, has a lot of insight into the digital aspects of media companies. In an interview with Nieman Lab, O’Leary shared some of what she learned during eight years with the Times. Some highlights are below.

On the importance of maintaining a fresh perspective:

“I really think if you’re working on digital change in media, you should have an expiration date to your job. Whatever you’re working on, you should be able to complete and help leave behind a newsroom that’s better equipped to handle its digital work.”

On how reporting at the Times has changed since 2007:

“In 2007, as digital people, we were expected to be 100 percent deferent to all traditional processes. We weren’t to bother reporters or encourage them to operate differently at all, because what they were doing was the very core of our journalism.”

On what the Times needs to do in the future:

“The critical thing is that places like The New York Times dive head first into a strong culture of experimentation. And by that I don’t mean throwing everything to the wall and seeing what sticks. I mean rigorous, studied experimentation, where new ideas are tried with excitement and with ease and are studied to learn what works and what doesn’t.”