Media Mavens: Torontoist editor extraordinaire Erica Lenti

Media Mavens: The most on-trend, in-style, on-point Canadians we know. The ones we look up to. The best and brightest in the Great White North. Our MCMs and WCWs.

Are we the only ones obsessing over Canada’s growing media landscape? From groundbreaking journalists, to influential bloggers and the stars of the Canadian screen, we have everything and more in our amazing nation. This is why we have decided to give our readers the inside scoop on some of our favourite Media Mavens*. Follow along as we learn about the newest trends and exclusive tips from some of the coolest Canucks around.

Erica Lenti

As a staple for all the 6 Gods and Goddesses out there, the Torontoist is your go to guide for all things, well, Toronto. But have you ever wondered how they stay on top of all the hard hitting news? This week’s media maven, Erica Lenti, is in charge of making sure they know about everything happening in realm of news, politics and culture, all with a bit of their signature sass. When she’s not busy overseeing the stories and pitches as the deputy editor of the Torontoist, she’s busy writing. Her work has been published in some of Canada’s most highly acclaimed publications such as The Walrus, Reader’s Digest and Torontoist. All of this, and she only graduated from university last year! Can you say #WriterGoals?

In one sentence, explain what you do.

I’m the deputy editor of Torontoist, which means I work with (typically up-and-coming) writers to develop and edit stories that analyze, celebrate, or critique the way our city works.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I’m lucky that being an editor at a small publication means I have loads of flexibility. I like to get an early start, and I’ll often begin editing at 7:30 while eating breakfast. A majority of my work is editing stories—we typically publish five a day—but it also includes overseeing pitches, dealing with any reader feedback or complaints and developing long-term strategies for the publication. I like to get out of the office early, around 3:30 or 4:00, and finish my work off later in the evening. I tend to work from home two or three days a week—I’m more productive when I can avoid my hour-long commute downtown from North York!—and I’m grateful I have that option.

What is your favourite social media platform and why?

I love Twitter. It’s such a versatile platform. My colleague, David Hains, checks out a writer’s Twitter before their portfolios; you can learn a lot about a person based on what they tweet. Smart people can say a lot in just 140 characters. Really thoughtful discussions about current affairs and issues have come in the form of Twitter essays. And just more practically, we’ve seen that basically all news breaks on Twitter these days.

Facebook may be leading the way when it comes to audience reach and revenue tools, but Twitter will always be my favourite.

From where do you receive inspiration?

I talk to everyone and anyone I can about what’s been grinding their gears. Potential stories exist everywhere, but I don’t have the vantage point or lived experiences that others around me do. Lately, I’ve been enjoying chatting with my Uber drivers about their lives and experiences, and I try to glean some inspiration from them.

I’m also finding that YouTube is an incubator of trends and ideas before they hit the mainstream, so I watch a lot of videos before bed.

And, of course, I read as much as I can: magazines (I’m addicted to subscriptions), non-fiction books, newspapers, dozens of online stories a day. I’m part of a longreads group on Facebook with other journalist friends, and we discuss one longform story every week. It’s imperative to keep reading to improve your writing and to get inspired.

What tip do you have for our readers who are looking to pitch a story?

Get familiar with our publication—that is, read a week’s worth of content—before pitching us. Understand what makes a Torontoist story. Give me a sense of why you’re the right person to write this, and why what you’re pitching to me matters. And don’t be discouraged if you’re a newbie: Torontoist has been a launching pad for so many young and now-accomplished writers (Stacey May Fowles, Desmond Cole, Sarah Nicole Prickett, and Mark Medley are among our alumni). As an editor, part of my job is to help you improve your skills and build your portfolio, and I’m happy to hear your ideas.

Twitter: @ericalenti


Torontoist Twitter: @torontoist


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