Callie Schweitzer (left).
USC Annenberg / Wilson Pumpernickel.

The Storyteller: Callie Schweitzer

Callie Schweitzer learned about innovation, digital media and entrepreneurism well before she graduated with a degree in print and digital journalism from USC Annenberg (summa cum laude) in 2011.

She was the editor-in-chief of Neon Tommy, USC Annenberg’s 24/7 online news site, which became the #1 most-trafficked online-only student publication in the country within a year of its launch. She also served as a staff writer and the senior news editor and coordinated coverage for breaking news, day-to-day reporting and big events like Obama’s visit to USC in October 2010, the midterm elections in November 2010 and the national education protests in March 2010. “I was in school during the explosion of social media and digital storytelling, and I got to experiment with it every single day,” she says. “Under [Profs.] Marc Cooper and Alan Mittelstaedt’s leadership, I learned that there’s no such thing as a student journalist and that age should never hold you back from asking important questions.

“My experience at Neon Tommy gave me an entrepreneurial hunger and interest in giving people news they don’t know they need,” says Schweitzer. “As a 20-year-old overseeing a staff of more than 200 people and running a publication being read by hundreds of thousands of people, I had to think holistically. How do we find more readers? How do we adapt to these new tools and tell better stories? That interest in finding readers and providing a service — giving them important news and great stories — has driven my career.”

After graduating, Schweitzer worked as the deputy publisher of Talking Points Memo, overseeing the business, publishing and tech side of the company. She was also responsible for project and digital product management of mobile, tablet, video and content partnerships, and increasing and maintaining audience growth. She subsequently directed marketing and communications at Vox Media, overseeing the branding, marketing, and audience growth for sports site SB Nation, tech/culture site The Verge and gaming site Polygon.

Today, she is the editorial director of Audience Strategy, for TIME and TIME Inc. She was promoted earlier this year from her previous position as director of Digital Innovation at TIME.

“Working at Time Inc. has been a master class in learning from some of the world’s best Third Space thinkers,” she says. “We’re reaching more than 50 million unique visitors per month and are doing for the minute what TIME has always done for the week. It’s transformational, and I feel lucky to be part of it.”