While growing up, Amanda Kludt knew her passion involved writing. editing, and putting together publications. As the arts editor of her high school newspaper, and the editor-in-chief of the school’s literary magazine, she quickly learned that focusing on arts and lifestyle had nabbed her heart. Then, once she was in college, Amanda interned at a variety of publications and found another love — this time for local news reporting.
In her current role Amanda gets to combine all of her passions in her job as senior vice president of editorial for Vox Media‘s Eater and Curbed. “I love that with food and home coverage, and specifically the reporting we do at Eater and Curbed at the local level, we’re able to cover creative and vital industries, while also acting as local beat reporters.”
In her role, Amanda oversees all of Eater’s coverage — nationally and in 24 local markets across the United States and Canada. Under her leadership, Eater has won six James Beard Awards, two National Magazine Awards and two New York Emmy Awards. Also during her tenure, Eater announced an unprecedented deal with Hulu.
Amanda also co-hosts Eater’s podcast, Eater’s Digest, which features nearly 200 episodes that bring you everything you need to know about the world of food each week. And impressively, she does all of this as a mom of two! Read on as Amanda discusses why we need to focus less on titles and more on the work we like, shares how she tackles massive projects, and how she’s baked growth into the Eater and Curbed platforms.
Becoming editor-in-chief of Eater at just 30-years-old is an amazing accomplishment! What did it feel like?
It felt exciting and challenging. This promotion came at a time of new investment for Eater after a long period of scrappiness. So, it was an exciting time to rethink the vision of the publication, our mission, and what we could and should do with new resources.
Then, five years later you were promoted to senior vice president of editorial for Eater and Curbed. What were some things you did in your role with Eater that you feel contributed to this opportunity?
I think I was able to prioritize the editorial opportunities and mission of eater, while never forgetting its commercial growth and appeal. That means putting the storytelling first and supporting the core journalism, but also paying attention to what our audience is asking for, what the revenue team is looking for, and what the market is responding to.
What advice do you have for other women reading this who are keen to get promoted in their jobs?
Have a good idea of what you want, make it clear to people, and stick to your guns. I’ve turned down promotions because I didn’t want to go down a certain path. I’ve also learned that people who work for me don’t always want to go where I see them going. So, communicating about your goals, strengths, and the work that brings you joy, is incredibly essential.
You’ve done a tremendous job expanding Eater to other platforms. What is your process for creating goals and achieving them? Did you have a list of all the things you wanted to do in your role when you started, or did the list evolve over time?
I always have both qualitative and quantitative goals for the different teams I run, and for myself, at the beginning of the year. This way we all have something to shoot for. That said, I’m very aware that we’re in a shifting industry, and we want to be nimble and entrepreneurial. I don’t want a hard-set goal to get in the way of a great idea or opportunity. I want to be able to push toward growth and success, while also encouraging risk and adaptability.
What advice do you have for taking on a big project at work?
If you are committing, make sure you actually have time for it. This is one of my biggest weaknesses. I love launching a project and struggle with the follow-through once it’s off the ground. I also hate admitting that I won’t have time for something, even though I knew it to be true from the beginning.
What is something about your job that you think others might not realize?
I think most fans of Eater and Curbed don’t fully grasp how many things we do and how much goes on behind the scenes.In addition to the written content in dozens of cities, there’s also newsletters, events, social accounts, TV shows, podcasts, a YouTube channel and streaming channels, plus marketing partnerships and revenue deals. Operating across all of those areas, and being able to speak to them and advise the teams, while keeping the broader context of what’s happening at the company and in the media in general, is a lot to juggle. This is on top other aspects that are important to me, like remembering the name of the newest staffer and making sure they feel at home.
What is your schedule like? What are some tactics you use to balance meetings, email, leadership responsibilities and your creative work?
I try to group all of my meetings in the middle of the week, leaving Monday and Friday fairly clear. Monday is a good day for me to set my priorities and goals for the week, while also getting some real work done. Friday is when I write my weekly newsletter and finish up whatever I didn’t finish Monday through Thursday.
I am completely unreachable between 6 to 8 a.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. every day — for my sanity and my family’s sanity. I wish I could say I don’t work after 8 p.m., but that’s often when I find time for reading and writing. That said, I try not to send emails or Slacks after hours, because I don’t like the message it sends to my team.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Consuming the work that my team does, whether it’s in a photo gallery of a new restaurant space, impact reporting on sexual harassment in the industry, an episode of a Curbed podcast, our TV show about immigrant communities around the U.S., or an Instagram story about dining around Paris. I just love seeing what happens when you enable and encourage people to do important and creative work.
What are some of your future goals?
Growing the influence, impact and audience of Curbed and Eater. I’d love to see Curbed strike a TV deal and Eater launch a consumer app in the next year.
What advice do you have for a girl who wants your job?
Focus on the kind of work you like, not the title. You never know where good work will lead you.
I’d love to have coffee with:
My favorite restaurant is:
The books on my nightstand are:
My favorite way to spend my day off is:
Yoga, reading and getting outside with my kids
One lesson I’ve learned lately is:
Over-communication is key. You can’t assume people heard/received a message on the first try.
I can’t live without:
I feel my best when:
I’ve worked out