10 Things To Know About Shani Hilton, VP Of News And Programming At BuzzFeed

Written by Ann Brown


BuzzFeed News is … well, getting major buzz these days. And Shani Hilton, who runs the day-to-day operations as vice president of news and programming, has a lot to do with it. At just 33, she is spearheading successful changes over at BuzzFeed News, one being its recent plunge into video.

Also, in July, “BuzzFeed News created a standalone site to distance itself from the parent brand. Yet it highlights the tension between BuzzFeed News and the parent brand that it also owes its success to,” Digiday reported.

Hilton was hired in 2013 after working at Washington City Paper and NBC in D.C.  Here are 10 things you might not know about Hilton.

Diversity Done Right

1. Hilton wrote BuzzFeed News’ “first standards guide in 2015 and has been vocal on ethics issues and the importance of newsroom diversity,” reported Digiday.  She even wrote a piece in Medium called “Building A Diverse Newsroom Is Work.”

She’s Built A Solid Team

2. ”Hilton hired an experienced producer, Cindy Vanegas-Gesuale, late of HuffPost, Fox Business Network and CNN, as head of programming. The two of them have built a video arm of about 50 people. They also lean on BuzzFeed Studios resources and the 300-person BuzzFeed News newsroom,” Digiday reported.

30 Under 30

3. At age 29, Hilton was picked for Forbes’ prestigious “30 Under 30” list.

Photo: Twitter / Image: Anita Sanikop

Early Starter

4.  ”Hilton got her start in journalism early, in the seventh grade, when she founded ‘The Paw Print,’ the paper of record for Etiwanda Intermediate School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.,” Politico reported.

She Made Her Bones In DC Newsrooms

5. “Hilton rose the media ranks—with stops at the Center for American Progress, the alt-weekly Washington City Paper and NBC’s Washington, D.C. affiliate before joining BuzzFeed in February 2013,” Politico reported.

All Hail The Queen

6. Hilton is well liked by her staff. “Hilton, in only a few months as executive editor, appears to have won over her newsroom. Two separate BuzzFeed News employees, asked independently, referred to Hilton as their ‘queen,’” Politico reported.

She’s A Media Junkie

7. “Once I get out of bed, I have this ritual where I put on a kettle for tea, play music, open my laptop, and turn on my television to local news. Usually I’ll look at what Fox5 has with the weather and commute, and then also turn over to the Today show and just put that on mute with closed captioning,” she told The Wire.

Journalism’s In Her Blood

8. She grew up with a journalist father.

She’s An HBCU Alum

9. Hilton studied journalism at Howard University.

She Blogged

10. You can read her old blogs–from back in 2011–here.