Samantha Barry, head of social media at CNN, was featured on the Irish website Independence.
A recent arrival to NYC, Samantha Barry’s career has already reached heights as dizzying as the buildings she now inhabits. The Cork native is leading the social media revolution at one of the world’s most established news networks, taking on the role of head of social news and senior director of strategy at CNN.
The path from Ballincollig to Columbus Circle has been a global one for Samantha, who, after stints in RTE and Newstalk, travelled the world working for ABC Australia and the US State Department, training young journalists.
In 2012, she started working with BBC World News in London where she had the chance to focus her skills as a social news producer. From relentless over-nights on the 2FM news desk, to directing CNN anchors on social media strategy, it was a stint in Papua New Guinea that changed Samantha’s career trajectory. As the country was flooded with smartphones and Facebook quickly replaced radio, she understood the changing nature of information consumption.
Now she challenges millennials to consider where their career can take them, beyond the traditional aspirations of war reporting and becoming a TV anchor, and to encourage them to view how their peers get news. “If you can be the best reporter in your sphere, then you’re going to kick ass.”
It’s not all business though, with Samantha hitting Irish headlines herself recently when she was papped at the star-studded wedding of her close friend Amal Alamuddin to George Clooney in Venice. From social news to social nights, getting to know New York is next on the agenda for Samantha. “Here’s the thing, I went clubbing the other day, and I can’t do it any more!
“A restaurant with good people-watching, good food and good wine – that’s the perfect New York evening.”
The charismatic Corkonian is already on top of the world as we chat overlooking Central Park, so what next? “I’d like to be at a dinner party in a year’s time and for someone to not know what I do – and to have them turn around and say ‘CNN are kicking ass on social. They are doing really cool things on social media’.”