After spending years involved in student publications during high school and then at Cornell, Samantha Henig ‘06 is now an editorial director for audio at The New York Times and the co-author of “Twentysomething,” a book on the culture and science of being young, which she wrote with her mother in 2013.
“I’ve always been interested in journalism,” Henig said. “I especially love my current work with audio because there is a lot to be discovered. People form a lot of relationships around the podcasts that they listen to and I love that it’s a new, blossoming and fun medium with a lot of possibilities at a time that there is a lot of tightening around magazines.”
Henig co-manages the audio team at The New York Times, running the newsroom and editorial operations, and working across several teams at the company – marketing, advertising, product, technology, business development – to make sure that their productions reach a wider audience and that the audio business is a success.
“I kind of stumbled into audio,” Henig said. “Everyone else on the audio team has radio experience but I had mostly worked with magazines before.”
During her time at Cornell, Henig and a friend, Katie Jentleson ’06, founded Kitsch, a student publication that features editorials, fiction, art and photography. Henig, a sociology major, credits her activities on campus for preparing her for her current roles.
“I see parallels between what I’m doing now and what I did at Kitsch in terms of creating something from scratch within a large institution,” Henig said. “The New York Times is a large institution much like Cornell was. When we were starting Kitsch, we received a lot of institutional support from the university, we received funding from the dean of students and a lot of faculty members and departments who believed in our vision.”
While at Cornell, she also co-founded Studpubs, an umbrella organization for student publications on campus. Henig has used the lessons learned from collaborating with other student organizations in her current role, which requires working across many departments.
“After starting Kitsch, I realized that a lot of other student publications were struggling with finding printing facilities and figuring out where to do layout,” Henig said. “That type of working across a big organization and figuring out how to collaborate with people who are your competitors is something I’ve continued to find useful at my job.”
Henig’s previous jobs at the Times included deputy editor for features and digital editor of the Sunday magazine. She also worked at The New Yorker as the digital news editor and at Newsweek, both in print and online. Henig also helped launch DoubleX, a women’s web magazine that was part of the Slate Group. While at Slate, she recorded and produced podcasts of the "Explainer" column, and wrote and starred in a series of videos.
"My advice to current students is to get internships at places you love and are excited about,” Henig said. “Make the most of the classes you take while you are at school. Use all the resources that Cornell gives you and learn.”