Bellisario College alumna named to '30 Under 30' list by Forbes

Jonathan F. McVerry
March 10, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State alumna Joanie Vasiliadis, the vice president of digital content at TEGNA, a major media company, was named to Forbes’ 2021 30 Under 30 list. She said the structure of news reporting called her to journalism and the help of mentors led her to early success.

Vasiliadis developed an interest in journalism at a young age growing up in Northern Virginia. She graduated with a journalism degree from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications in 2013. Vasiliadis enjoys editing, and early in her career she grasped the importance of digital media.

“It was the way I consumed news,” Vasiliadis said. “I thought I wanted to work in a local broadcast newsroom, but the way audiences were consuming news was changing to digital, and I wanted to be in that space.”

She enjoys both worlds at TEGNA, which helps local news stations report the news, market themselves and transition to more digital-friendly formats. Vasiliadis oversees the digital content for TEGNA’s 49 newsrooms across the country.

“We have fabulous news and digital directors in every newsroom,” she said. “They're the ones who do the great work. I'm here to support them.”

“My success is truly thanks to the people around me." 

— Joanie Vasiliadis, vice president of digital content at TEGNA and Penn State alumna

Vasiliadis credits her achievements to the many colleagues and mentors she’s worked with during her career at TEGNA.

“My success is truly thanks to the people around me,” she said. “I've been so lucky to be exposed to amazing leaders, amazing journalists, and really smart digital innovators.”

Vasiliadis received an email informing her that she had been selected to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. She said it was a humbling and exciting moment.

“There are just so many different people, different businesses, different minds on the list … It's nice to be a part of it,” she said. “I am very grateful, and I can't say enough about my team. They're so supportive and they are the reason I'm on a list like this.”

"You can't teach people how to care about the work that they do." 

Joanie Vasiliadis

For soon-to-be and recent graduates, Vasiliadis says caring about the work is vital.

“You can teach people how to write a better headline or edit a video,” she said. “You can't teach people how to care about the work that they do and how to love their job and bring 100 percent.”

Vasiliadis said that local news is at a crossroads and having difficulty reaching younger audiences. Young graduates should use that to their advantage and showcase their perspectives and digital skills to “wow” interviewers.

“[Applicants] who stand out are the people who produce vertical video with text on screen and have interesting music that’s ready for Instagram, TikTok and YouTube,” she said. “Some people put together very traditional reels and it looks like TV 20 years ago.”

Vasiliadis looks back fondly on her time at the Bellisario College. She said Penn State is a big school where “you can find your own community,” which is what she did. The resources, people and support set her up for success.

“I had great professors who taught ethics courses and COMM law courses and I got to do an international reporting trip [to China],” she said. “I am really thankful that the school prepared me to shoot and edit video and give me the tactical skills that you need. It has a wonderful network. I felt very prepared.”

She added, “And, we just hired a Penn Stater in one of our producer programs and she's wonderful. I have a lot of faith in the school to turn out great talent.”

Last Updated June 02, 2021