Questions and Answers with Liza Bauer Barth

The Web Editors blog would like to introduce you to some of the incredible talent we have in the LinkedIn Web Editors group. Today we present Liza Bauer Barth, who is the web editor at Consumer Reports in New York.

Liza, thank you for joining us. How did you enter into the web world? How long have you been a Web Editor?
I was working in television production after college in the mid-1990s.  During my time there, I noticed a shift to using Macintosh computer programs for television graphics.  It was also the beginning of the Internet boom, which I found so exciting.  I wanted to learn more about these new technologies, so I decided to get my master’s degree in Media Studies at The New School in New York City with a focus on web design.  I left my TV production job in 1999 and went to a  small cable TV channel writing news for its website, and I’ve been working on the web ever since.

Have you ever had a mentor or someone who guided or inspired you in the web field?
I was inspired by my New School professor (his name is escaping me) who taught an online research class.  I learned how to search for information on the web through the original search engine, Alta Vista.  I loved how easy it was and after that class knew I wanted to work on the web.

Did you work in print journalism, communications, public relations or marketing before you became involved in the web?
I have a degree in mass communication from SUNY Plattsburgh and went into the television field first, then transitioned to online writing, editing and content management.

Which style (AP, Chicago, APA, AMA, etc.) do you use on your organization’s website?
AP style

How many people work on your organization’s website editorially?
While there are some designated online editors, all editors in our specific areas (cars, electronics, home, money, etc.) are involved in providing content to the website as well as to our other print publications.

In your work for Consumer Reports, what special challenges have you encountered?
It’s taken a while, but we had to work very hard to blur the lines between writing for print and online.  We have learned that content is content no matter where it lives.

Do you use a content management system? If so, which one?
We are using the CQ content management system, which is part of Adobe.

Do you have a workflow (approval process) established for your organization’s website?
When we migrated to the CQ system, a workflow process was instituted. It starts with the web editor and then it generally goes to copy and then publish depending on content.

Is any of your editorial work outsourced? If so, what do you outsource?
We had outsourced some newsletter and ShopSmart writing, but most has now been brought in-house to save on costs.  Online work has never been outsourced.

Which resources do you read regularly to keep up with what’s going on in the Web world? (blogs, e-newsletters, magazines, books, etc.)
I read much of my news via Twitter.  I follow many news organizations (New York Times, Huffington Post, CNN, and NPR) in addition to automotive and vehicle safety groups since my focus at Consumer Reports is on cars.

Do you attend seminars or webinars to keep up with your profession? Which one(s) have you found most useful?
No, I haven’t had much opportunity to attend seminars.

Along the same note, have you taken or are you taking university or other classes that helped you professionally, and what are they?
After my Master’s degree, I have not taken any further classes.

Do you have any editorial pet peeves?
Not being given journalistic freedom to develop a story to its full potential.

What would you advise someone just starting out in the business?
Know what’s going on in the world, read and follow the news. To gain experience, start writing your own blog or try to do some freelance work.

Do you have a favorite saying or inspirational quote that gets you through tough days?
No, but listening to Pandora during the day helps.

What do you like to do outside of your profession to relax?
I take a dance class once a week and exercise during lunch.  I also like to spend time exploring the world with my husband, 6 year old son, and 4 year old daughter.

What is your greatest challenge in being a Web Editor, and how do you deal with it?
Communication always seems to be the biggest challenge.  I try to ask questions and meet face to face with colleagues.  Walking over to someone’s office and talking can save a lot of time.

What was your greatest triumph or success (so far) as a Web Editor?
I am proud of my work at Consumer Reports especially working on automotive safety and becoming the organization’s expert on distracted driving.  I had the opportunity last June to present on the topic at the National Lifesavers Conference on Highway Safety Priorities in Orlando.

If you have one lesson learned to share with our readers, what would it be?
Keep learning and challenging yourself.  If you have an interest in a topic, become an expert on it.  Make your mark.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! Stay tuned for more interviews coming up!


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