Terron Moore grew up loving MTV. So when he was named editorial director of MTV NEWS in December, he arrived believing in the channel’s legacy of giving young people a voice and its potential to continue highlighting political and social issues that affect them. Case in point: A roundtable discussion on taboos surrounding mental health in the black community. We caught up with the former Teen Vogue social media director, culture writer, and self-proclaimed older-wave millennial to chat about his new role, his favorite (and least favorite) things about social media, and how Pocket helps his work.
MTV and MTV NEWS have been fixtures in youth culture for decades. In our current cultural climate, what value do you think MTV NEWS offers?
I’ve loved MTV my entire life, and part of the reason is because of MTV’s legacy when it comes to young people. It not only reflects their authentic lives but advocates for them to be their best selves and helps them understand their ability to change the world. MTV NEWS has been this library of iconic cultural moments since its inception. For me, it’s about leveraging those moments while also creating new ones.
But it’s also important for us to just be there for this generation, the same way MTV was for mine. I’m 30 now and I like to think that I know myself a little bit; I try not to lose sight of what it felt like to be 18 and have no idea who you are or want to be. My dream is to build an MTV NEWS that has the space to really reflect our audience in a way that helps them find themselves—whether that’s connecting them to their favorite songs and artists or giving them tangible ways to take action and improve their lives and the lives of others.
You are also a journalist and culture writer and have an impressive list of celebrity interviews under your belt. What are a few of your most memorable interviews so far?
For me, it’s not really about meeting a certain name. As a writer and creative, my favorite pieces are when I’m accurately able to capture the essence of a moment or person in a way that feels satisfying. Two of those have been Gabrielle Union and Cole Sprouse.
You were senior director of social media at MTV and before that, at Teen Vogue. What do you love most about social media—and what’s your least favorite thing about it?
I still think that the very essence of social media—the concept of connecting with others to share passions and ideas—is a really beautiful thing and still intact. We see and reflect stories all the time about ways in which young people around the world, who would have never met otherwise, become friends and bond over commonalities and create their own special communities.
The performative aspect of social media, the technology that helps us make every image “perfect” and project a lifestyle that isn’t always attainable—that is definitely something I think affects us all. It’s something I’m still learning to manage internally. But on the flipside, I see a lot of young people combating that by being open about not being perfect. There are a lot of meaningful and honest discussions about coming of age, self-esteem, mental health, and anxiety and depression that happen on social that often don’t happen in real life.
If you were to give a few tips on how to create quality social media content that stands out on the crowded web, what would they be?
There are SO MANY inspiring people and brands on social media, and it’s very easy to let the content inspire you. But it’s always felt really important to me that I’m not replicating or repeating what everyone else is doing, but finding my own authentic spin on it. That goes for both work and personal social; the harder you try to keep up with competition, or people you admire, it can challenge the honesty of what you have to offer the world. I try to keep in mind what I can uniquely bring to the table.
What does a typical day-in-the-life look like for you?
The only consistencies in my day are 1) waking up at 6:00am and working out before heading to the office, and 2) my standing meetings, including my 1:30pm daily with my team to make sure we’re all on the same page with key projects of the day. Outside of that, my days are absurdly unpredictable—and I mean that in the best way. I could be running from a team brainstorm to an artist meet-and-greet, to an insights regroup, then to a larger MTV tentpole meeting—the huge events like the VMAs and other cultural moments that we somehow pull off each year.
MTV NEWS is its own entity. We work on so many exciting things all at once, from our editorial content and social videos to our original digital series, and it’s so exciting to build these things from the ground up. But “typical” is the last way to describe it!
How does Pocket fit into your life?
As unpredictable as my days can be, it’s still really important that I’m taking time to consume the work our editors are creating, as well as understand what’s going on in the current entertainment and political landscapes. I’m constantly saving stories to Pocket so that I’m not missing a beat. I use Pocket on my phone almost every day, but I just (irresponsibly) splurged on an iPad Pro, which Pocket is perfect for. On Saturday mornings, I’ll usually wake up with my iPad and some coffee, and I’ll spend a few hours going through as many stories as I can.
What have you been saving and reading recently in Pocket?
By way of the Billy McFarland/Fyre Festival buzz, I found my way to Vanity Fair’s piece on Elizabeth Holmes and read about her iconic Silicon Valley scamming. Anne Helen Peterson’s great BuzzFeed piece on millennial burnout is the perfect example of saving stories to Pocket for when you can get around to really digesting them. I loved it. Sam Lansky is just one of my favorite voices, and “The Theory of Visitors” is just this beautifully raw and personal piece on relationships in the digital age that I get something new from every time I read.
Imagine if your Pocket came to life as a party or gathering and we were invited. What’s the vibe? Who would we meet?
I feel like you’d probably meet a bunch of kids like me: older-wave millennials who are still fascinated by the world and trying to figure out all the ways it’s changing for the better, and the challenges of the digital age that we’re all still trying to work through. Also, there would be a LOT of dancing and great music.
If you could sneak a peek into someone’s Pocket, whose would it be?
I would be extra curious to read Oprah’s Pocket. I have no doubts that it’s a magical world of unicorns and fresh vegetables from her own garden and some sound advice.
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