Katy Newton: LAT New Peeping Tom Dishes About Her New Gig

katynewtonmug.jpgWhen we first suggested that new LAT vid-journo Katy Newton was hired to be a peeping tom, she sent an e-mail to some higher-ups suggesting that, just maybe, their press release was “sending the wrong message.”

But after we saw the new feature, ICU, (and especially after we fell in love with it) Katy kindly agreed to tell FBLA how she came up with the idea:

1. What is the overall idea behind the feature? Basically, the idea is to meet the people behind the posts of Craigslist’s “missed connections,” open up that dialogue to our readers and learn a bit about the different ways Angelenos are trying to connect with each other.

2. Where did the idea come from? Several months ago, I went out to dinner with some girlfriends of mine. One of my friends was laughing about her obsession with a fellow Trader Joe’s shopper. She jokingly described how she was sure by the way he picked out his veggies he would be a perfect mate. Another woman at the table suggested to my friend that she post her story on Craigslist “missed connections.”

I hadn’t checked it out before, so I went online that night and fell in love with it. I immediately wanted to meet the people behind the posts. “Light bulb!”

3. What is your video/journalism background? In 2004, I started working in journalism. My background was originally in film with a focus in documentary film. I was introduced to journalism through my husband, Sean Connelley, who was at that point a photojournalist. Together we produced several award-winning interactive projects for a newspaper in Northern California.

Sean works in the interactive department of LAT too. Sean and Thomas
actually developed the awesome “where the boys/girls are” interactive map that is linked to at the bottom of I C U.

4. The stuff on the site right now is great; are you concerned about how you’re going to sustain it? Yes, and no. I worry, just because that’s my job. But, I don’t worry because in general I think people are really interesting and never cease to amaze.

5. How do you verify that these events happened? We only contact people after they have posted to CL. Their stories tell us more about the person than the actual event does. We’re not trying to re-create or verify the incident. We’re just enabling the online user to meet the person through their story. Down the road we hope to tell some special stories readers submit.

6. Are most of the people you talk to looking for love? (And if so, will you call us if ICU instigates a match?) No, most of the people I think are just simply looking to connect. But, if we do get a story of a connection we will send it your way!

7. Are you going to get an ICU personalized license plate? What do you mean ‘get’? 😉