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    • Please join me in welcoming Anthony Quintano, award-winning social media professional and photographer! A bit more about Anthony: “He’s a social media manager with a rich background in news, having overseen social strategy for NBC News, TODAY Show, tech news website, and investigative news website, Honolulu Civil Beat. Anthony has also trained journalists from TV anchors and correspondents to campaign embeds and NBC executives.”

      Welcome Anthony!

    • So I was so glad to meet you at SXSW at the MuckRack event. Can you tell me a bit more about how you got started working in social media?

    • Well, I first got into social media because I was freelancing at the time, around 2007, and I needed to get my work out there. I wanted people to know what I was capable of. So I used any platform necessary to do that. I launched a website, I got onto Youtube, at the time Twitter had just started, and I was one of the early users of Twitter, and I really was using whatever platform I could to get visibility on my work. After a couple of years, and learning how these platforms worked, I ended up really focusing on news. And at first it was covering what was happening in northern New Jersey, New York, the social media industry, and at the time I was freelancing at CNBC as a graphic artist. I became the guy in the studio that knew what Twitter was. So everybody was coming to me whenever they had a question about Twitter, so I’d help anchors, when it wasn’t even my job. And because I was freelancing for NBC, I started following anyone who was joining twitter from NBC, to hopefully get a full-time job, and I noticed one day that they hired a director of social media for NBC News, and I saw who it was, and I tweeted at him. And he invited me to meet him, I ended up going to his office, and he was very intrigued by my background, because over the years I’ve learned various skills that were unique that he didn’t have himself, like creating content - it’s not always easy to have a team creating content at the time because it was so new and young. So it ended up working out to his benefit, he ended up hiring me because of those skills. At the time, there was a website called Justin.TV (now known as Twitch). And I was a live streamer on Justin.TV. and I was very familiar with live-streaming. And the night he invited me to meet him, they were hosting a live-streamed panel discussion with some NBC executives and some social media influencers. And they couldn’t  get their livestream to work. So I jumped in and got their livestream up and running, and that sealed the deal for me being hired. I was hired September 2010 as the first social media manager for NBC News Network. And then from there that’s how I got into it. Every job I’ve gotten since then has been through social media and not through traditional job hunting means. Twitter has carried my career throughout the years! I’ve been very fortunate. 

    • It was difficult and exciting at the same time. It was easy, because everybody knew what the TODAY show was, what the NBC news was, so it already had a built-in audience. The thing that they weren’t doing enough was mentioning that they existed on social media. So that was one of our biggest goals was to try and incorporate brand awareness of social media for NBC news and the shows on broadcast. From there, my job was to corral the community and create opportunities where we could create engagement on the platforms once we got people there. I did some exciting things, like the first political debate that was done on Facebook, was with NBC news, one of my first big jobs when I joined. It was a big step for NBC News and social, and that was the 2012, one of the Democratic debates in New Hampshire at the time. So that was one. 2012 was a big year, because I got to work the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the 2012 London Olympics, and it was just one big event after another! Coming up with plans and strategies of what we were going to do, and then actually acting on them, following up. There were a lot of people involved, it wasn’t just me. I facilitated and came up with a lot of the ideas, but there were a lot of other people. We worked hand-in-hand with the NBC News marketing and PR sides, how to respond around crises, how to engage around events. No one day was alike going into work. There was no sit down, do this and this, your day is done. There were always adrenaline rushes. As soon as one project was done, we were planning for the next one, and it was very overwhelming to do but exciting at the same time. 

    • That’s a tough question! The most impactful and exciting experience that I had to do, when it comes to my job, was covering the Volcanic eruption in Hawaii in 2018. It was a surreal experience. I didn’t think I was going to get caught up in it because I wasn’t assigned to cover it. I’d happened to go to see the volcano in the weekend on my own time, and got caught covering it. The day I arrived, nothing was happening, all the fissures had stopped erupting. And I thought “Oh, I missed it.” And then the following day is when not only a fissure opened up, but I was able to walk right up to it, and start filming. I was 10 minutes away, even being hit by lava at one point, a little bit on my shoulder. Later that day, I got access to a house thanks to a homeowner that allowed us to livestream and document the rest of the eruption in a place that a lot of the media couldn’t get access to. We were the only people streaming to tens of thousands of people on YouTube. It turned out to be the most impactful, most important, most exciting experience I’ve had in all of my years of news. 

    • It was exciting, because they were lifting the ban! I was there for a milestone. And I became the story in a sense, because I was the one photographed by AP. I was doing this for my own photo, my own video, but then the other photographers came over to shoot me ripping that piece of paper. So the whole day was very cool. Even later on that day, we were able to watch President Obama board Marine 1 and take off, and capture that footage with our phones. To be able to walk through the White House and document what you wanted - unfortunately it was only with cell phones, they weren’t allowing professional cameras at that time, only journalists could use cameras in the White House in designated areas. I was one of a group of people that was invited as social media influencers to come be the first group to come in and take pictures of the White House. So that was really cool. I ended up doing a piece on the website of that day. 

    • How do you stay up-to-date, as a professional in the news and social media space? Are there any lifehacks, newsletters, or tools you’d recommend to someone who’s looking to improve their information diet?

    • I use every platform necessary to keep me informed. I have a list of sources that I follow on Twitter to keep me updated. 

      Between Twitter, YouTube, and certain Facebook groups… I also make sure I attend Facebook’s F8 Developer conference every year, and a number of other events held by social platforms. I have coleagues and connections at Twitter, facebook and Google who keep me up-to-date on new features, different strategies, and whatever so I can pass it along, as I now conduct journalist training. One of my must-follows is Matt Navarra, who actually keeps ME very up-to-date on changes - for example, today Twitter is taking over his account! He’s quite influential in our world, and is based in the UK. 

      I don't do newsletters or podcasts, but I do follow Kara Swishers' "Recode Decode" podcast. Kara is my former boss from Recode, and she's very influential in the tech world, and does a lot of high-profile interviews.

      My inbox is flooded with a lot of crap and spam, so newsletters don't really work for me.

      Taylor Lorenz and Kerry Flynn are both also good follows. Between all of them, they keep me informed.

    • I carry my camera with me every day. Doesn’t matter where I’m going - whether it’s to work, for a day out with my wife, for an errand, my camera is always with me. I typically cover anything that’s newsworthy. I like to capture landscapes when I’m not chasing news. And specifically I love to focus on weather. So I’m a storm chaser at heart. I chase weather when I have the opportunity to. I’m not a full-time storm chaser. Part of the reason why we moved to Colorado was because I wanted to chase tornadoes. My camera just died on my trip to Texas, sadly, but I usually shoot with Canons, the 5D Mark II. Most recently at Civil Beat I was shooting with the Canon 1DX Mark II. 

      And this is pretty much everything I use to do what I do, not just photography but livestreaming and video.

    • I was particularly wowed by your work capturing the 2018 Kilauea volcanic eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii. You spent 3 months capturing these incredibly dramatic images. What was that like? What gear did you use? It looked like you got pretty close to the shifting molten lava as per this amazing video profile  and you were even hit by molten lava!

    • It sounds scarier than it was, being hit by lava. It wasn’t liquid when it hit me, it cooled as it was going through the air, so it was a very hot rock when it hit my shoulder, and it actually melted a portion of my vest, but it didn’t burn me or seep through or anything like that. At first I thought it did, so I panicked for a minute, until I noticed that it didn’t go through my shirt. The reporters around me were checking their hair and clothes after they heard the lava hit me. And I still have the vest with the lava burn in it, it’s my lucky vest now! 

      There were definitely breaks in the 3 month timeframe. I left the island and came back, so it wasn’t a straight 3 months, and some of my reporting was done from afar, but not up close. But I covered the story from beginning to end. We didn’t know when the volcano was dying down. It just stopped one day, and at that point, we were waiting to see if it would start again. It had started and stopped before, but this time it just didn’t start again.

      Being able to livestream from that house was an opportunity nobody else had. We had prime viewing of the eruption for a couple of weeks. We had a house with power and internet, so we were able to livestream, sleep on their couches, and the owners had evacuated, so we had the place to ourselves, and they wanted us to keep an eye on their house to make sure looters didn’t come in, and make them aware if lava was approaching their house at any time! So we were doing 2 things, covering the news and helping the homeowners. Eventually the one road we had access to was cut off by lava, so we couldn’t get back, and eventually the house burned down in a wildfire ignited by the lava. Fortunately nobody was in it when it burned down, but the homeowners lost their house. I did a number of interviews with CNN and the Weather Channel, talking about my experience. I did an interview with ABC in Australia. And you can see those on the Videos section on my website. 

    • You said you were a “stormchaser” in this interview and that you’ve covered “Tornado alley” before. Do you find that you’re balancing out the quest for the perfect shot with why you’re fearless to cover storms or volcanic activity?

    • Yes. I would say that’s become what I’ve been known for, is taking chances and extra risk in order to get the shot that I want. Before the chasing and the eruptions, on a regular basis I was able to fly in a helicopter with the doors open over Manhattan on occasion. You’ll see a photo on my website, I think in my ABOUT section, of me hanging out of a helicopter. I’m willing to do ALMOST whatever it takes for a good shot. I wouldn’t say I’m extreme, but I’m a bit more adventurous than your average photographer. 

    • What would you say are particular characteristics of your work? How do you choose the themes (like New York City or Wildlife) that you follow?

    • That’s a good question! I just get a feeling about something. Usually I scour events, I try to do some research about wildlife, times of year, good times for shooting, and sometimes I Just drive and go somewhere and end up somewhere shooting something. It varies on what drives me to shoot something, but usually if something triggers an emotion in me, I go shoot it. And that’s what the volcano did for me. We were in Yosemite on vacation at the time, my wife and me, when the volcanic eruption started, and I was watching the coverage on social media, and it was killing me that I wasn’t there. So that’s what drove me to go there as soon as we got back from that trip. 

      I’d say emotion and gut feeling carry me to my next shot. I pay attention to the weather very closely, I try to plan ahead and get in advance of the weather to capture what I THINK is gonna happen. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s cool when it does. 

    • Well, we moved to Colorado to explore the West. And one of my biggest locations I really want to do is go to British Columbia, Alberta, Canada. And I kind of want to focus more on wildlife, so that’s where I’m going towards next. And if that volcano ever wakes up and starts erupting again, I’m heading back to Hawaii to start covering it again, even if I’m not with an organization to cover it!