As a writer, no one’s going to care as much about your work as you do. That’s the best advice Dan Q. Dao has gotten working in the media industry and he’s taken it with him current role as deputy digital editor of Saveur.
Dao, 23, doesn’t think that just because he’s writing about food-and-drink, as opposed to hard news, that the work Saveur produces is any less important. “We’re dealing with people’s lives and professions, so we still need to be held accountable for our word,” he says.
Formerly the assistant food and drink editor at Time Out New York, Dao’s first magazine internship was also his first foray into food-and-drink journalism, which eventually sold him on pursuing it after college. Now his role touches many different areas ranging from pure editorial to social media and sponsored content programs.
Although he hasn’t been in his current role long, he’s already made some headway. “Beyond pitching and executing feature and blog content, I’ve been thrilled to implement some of my larger-scale initiatives just in my first month alone, including launching a daily news content vertical, creating a new SEO strategy, and recording Saveur’s very first Instagram story.”
A longtime Saveur reader, Dao says one of the main reasons he was originally drawn to the brand was because its food writing “isn’t about the trends—it’s about telling the ongoing story of food through historical and global perspectives.”
Today, in addition to social and the sponsored programs he’s working on, Dao says that he’s got some exciting videos coming through the pipeline. He tells us that he just recently came back from a trip to France’s Cognac region, so he’s been working on a feature on how some of the smaller Cognac houses are preserving their production processes.
His editorial philosophy is steeped in the traditions of journalism. “I think the key to garnering support for any idea is to provide the data or argument to back it up,” he says. “When I send a pitch, whether it be for a feature-length story or a branded content opportunity, I always make sure to follow up with the ‘why.’ That could mean anything from including examples of how similar stories have knocked it out of the ballpark traffic-wise or simply making a clear argument for why a certain story deserves to be told.”
With that said, Dao admits that he doesn’t think it would’ve been as easy to achieve as much as he has at his age without the culture of creative freedom at Saveur. “After all, it’s much easier to win when you’re being encouraged to do so.”
On February 15, Dan Q. Dao will be speaking at min’s Video Master Class in New York. He’ll sit in on one of the various sessions that’ll be offered that day ranging from creation to distribution to monetization. Check out all of the program’s speakers and don’t miss out on early registration!