christensen

Hi, I'm Ken.

I've spent the past eight years developing multimedia stories and strategies for legacy and startup media organizations, my small contribution to help local journalism transition to the internet age, grow new audiences via social media, and generate new streams of revenue around storytelling that audiences care about. I have experience leading teams, producing award-winning content, and being a player-coach. I've made deeply-reported journalism and produced commercial ad campaigns for national companies. I get a thrill from working across teams to elevate my own ideas and others', and work well with design folks, programmers, sales teams and others who have no experience doing what I do. I've worked in professional radio and as a written-word-only writer. My specialty is video: I vet and pitch great project ideas, interview subjects for the right soundbites, shoot video and still photography, run point on post-production and create compelling spinoff content so projects get tractions across a variety of platforms.

christensen

Most recently I became the Director of Video at WhereBy.Us, a media startup that owns and operates publications in Seattle, Portland, Miami, Orlando and Pittsburgh. (You can read more about the company in Nieman LabtwiceGeekwire, Tech.co, Columbia Journalism Review, and Seed Invest.) I hired and managed four full-time producers across the country and led the remote team in making local video storytelling for our audiences in those cities. I created workflows, systems and processes to manage publishing across multiple time zones, ensure producers met their deadlines and encourage cross-team collaboration. I built out a video content strategy to align with WhereBy.Us’ larger growth goals, defined our editorial style and standards, created graphics packages, led pitch sessions, edited scripts and gave feedback on drafts. The team ran experiments and tested videos of different sizes and scopes, producing stories on things like Oregon's foster care crisis, Seattle's dive-bombing crows, a "pop" farmer, seasonal food recipes, hosted restaurant shows, the history of a segregated housing complex, accessible architecture, and more. The company’s social following increased by 30,000 across brands and newsletter subscribers doubled to almost 70,000, with video as a key growth driver.

I also developed a suite of sponsored and custom advertising products for the WhereBy.Us Creative Studio, turning video and social concepts that we tested on Facebook and Instagram into well-defined, revenue-generating series that allowed local companies to advertise in our publications. I was responsible for budgeting staff time and production resources toward these projects and produced sales collateral to help our business team talk about our editorial products effectively. One of our underwritable series, about city neighborhoods, sold out 90% of its Miami inventory in its first year. During my time overseeing production for the creative studio, the company’s revenue doubled to $200,000 monthly, with more than three-quarters of it generated by our work. We produced campaigns for clients like Vulcan, the Gates Foundation, the Miami Foundation, Getaround, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and more.

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As a producer on the EarthFix team at Cascade Public Media, I worked with video, radio and print editors across the region to produce multimedia packages about the environment for public media outlets like KUOW, OPB, and KCTS 9, as well as nationally distributed shows on NPR, PBS and PRI. I reported on e-waste that was being sent from the U.S. to Hong Kong illegally, a story that spurred investigations into two Seattle businessmen and ultimately led to prison convictions. I also reported on microplastic marine pollution. That story became the most-watched video in KCTS 9's history, was the centerpiece of a panel discussion at the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association's annual conference, featured in the Vox Sentences newsletter and The Dr. Oz Show, and was highlighted at the Seattle Aquarium's 2018 Lighting Talks event. I won Pacific Northwest Regional Emmys for these projects and for stories about honeybees, Hanford and the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

I was also a leader in launching digital initiatives for KCTS 9, a historically broadcast-first media outlet. I helped produce the proposal and pilot episode for a new YouTube-based environmental science show, helping the station become one of several across the country to win a competitive grant from PBS Digital Studios.The grant funded the show, ReInventors, for a full season on YouTube. I also created the concept and produced the pilot episodes for Mossback's Northwest, the station's only digital-first series at the time. Finally, I helped lead production on a digital documentary called Battle Ready, a project about the military's environmental legacy in the Pacific Northwest. It served to unite the station's reporters, developers and designers around a new type of digital content distribution.

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At Crain’s New York Business, I was hired as the first video producer for a print-focused newsroom. I developed a new video concept for Crain’s annual 40 Under 40 project, where partipicants brought in personal artifacts (like Marc Glosserman's plaque, Tony Haile's walking stick, Maxwell Osborne's e-mail from Anna Wintour, Dominique Ansel's cork, and Sarita Bhatt's copy of Mississippi Masala) attached to personal stories. I produced an annual Stats and the City series, an interview show with Crain's real estate reporter, and an on-going video series called Gotham Gigs. My work won awards from top industry associations, The Alliance of Area Business Publishers and American Business Media.

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Other random things about me: I've been interviewed on live radio and on camera for TV broadcast, and I've spoken on stage in front of hundreds of people. I've led workshops with scientists for Compass and the University of Washington, training them how to better communicate their work to the public. I've interviewed CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, including presendential hopeful Michael Bloomberg. I've sat with my camera in a field for five hours to document a rare butterfly. I have been almost-fluent in Spanish, Italian and French at different points of my life, but am currently quite bad at speaking all of them. I learned things at the University of Washington studying Law, Societies and Justice, where I took classes about international human rights law, multiculturalism, constitutional law, the U.S. Supreme Court, prisons, and nuclear non-proliferation. At CUNY's Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, I earned a Master of Arts while focusing on business and economics reporting and visual storytelling. My crowning achievement there was covering Occupy Wall Street, a class project that led me to my wife. We now live with our son in Seattle.