Scrolling through Twitter, it seems like every cool person has a hot take these days. Who could forget that saucy review ofGuy Fieri‘s Times Square dining disaster. But what is it like to make your living from being opinionated or critical? Even if it’s not your full-time gig, how should you be using your voice and perspective to your advantage? How do you use your voice in professional settings (rather than just in your snarky tweets) and what does it all mean in a world saturated with unsolicited commentary about everything from Old Town Road to the “Cats” trailer? Is there a difference between how it used to be done and the opinion pieces of today?
Speakers: Gabe Bergado, Derrick Clifton, Frank Rizzo, Lena Wilson
GABE BERGADO is the entertainment features editor at Teen Vogue. In his role, he oversees a section that publishes stories about intersectional identities, representation in popular culture, rising celebrities, and more. From the latest Netflix series to what your favorite celebrities are up to on Instagram, Teen Vogue’s entertainment team is there to keep readers updated with what they need to know. Gabe’s work has been published on Mic, Men’s Health, The Daily Beast, and more. He graduated from Northwestern University where he double majored in journalism and gender studies.
DERRICK CLIFTON is an independent/freelance journalist and media consultant specializing in the intersections of identity, culture, entertainment, politics and social justice movements. With 10-plus years of experience in opinion journalism, digital media, corporate and political communications and nonprofit board work, Clifton is a recognized social critic, essayist and media strategist most known for examining beyond the surface to address the root cause of vital challenges and difficult discussion topics. Clifton also serves as the communications manager of ProPublica Illinois, the award-winning nonprofit investigative newsroom and the first regional operation of ProPublica. Previously, they worked in digital reporting and editing roles, as well as media relations and public affairs with teams at a major energy company, on campaigns and at an international public relations agency. A Master of Science in Journalism graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Clifton remains a frequent writer, speaker and commentator. They began their career in the news media as an editor of The Daily Northwestern, with work eventually appearing or being featured by NBC News, The New York Times, Vox, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Root, The Grio, Quartz, PBS Newshour, MSNBC, Out, Them, The Advocate, HLN, The Triibe, various NPR affiliates and more. Clifton also served as a staff writer covering identities for Mic.com.
FRANK RIZZO has been an arts/theater writer for more than 40 years. For 33 years, he wrote for The Hartford Courant. He currently is theater critic for Variety and is theater columnist for Connecticut magazine. His other print, radio and TV gigs have included The New York Times, American Theatre magazine, Playbill, the Connecticut Hearst newspapers, Hartford Magazine, Voice, Hartford Business Journal (writing on the business of the arts). He also lectures at colleges and elsewhere on arts/entertainment journalism, celebrity feature writing and the musical, “Hamilton!” He lives in New Haven and New York City.
LENA WILSON is a culture critic whose writing has appeared in Slate, Bitch Magazine and The Playlist. During the day, she works as a project manager in The New York Times newsroom. At night, she angers the internet by saying that women and LGBTQ people deserve equal treatment in front of and behind the camera. Please ask her to talk about the 2009 camp horror film, “Jennifer’s Body.”