Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member Caroline Smith

Chief Content Officer, Seeker at Group Nine Media

Caroline Smith is the Chief Content Officer at Seeker, the digital leader in science and innovation and an award-winning Group Nine Media brand. Seeker explains the world through a lens of science, bringing to light how science impacts our lives and shapes our future. In her role, Caroline oversees all content development, production and audience growth spanning field documentaries, 360/VR and short-form news content. Prior to Group Nine, Caroline ran the branded entertainment department for Discovery Communications’ digital native brands, building an award-winning production unit from scratch.

What video/ television piece inspired you recently?

The Defiant Ones really stuck with me, specifically the first episode where a young Jimmy Iovine unexpectedly finds himself in studio with John Lennon. Jimmy was early in his career and could have easily been overwhelmed and out of his depth, but he owned the opportunity and it catapulted his career. It was a reminder that you never know when great opportunities will present themselves, and you need to be brave enough to take advantage in the moment.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

There’s so much content available for consumption and the barrier to entry is low. It’s encouraging to see individual creators find their stride and voice on non-traditional platforms. That said, there’s also a benefit to content curation. The democratization of media platforms and ready access to production and publishing has surely crowded the field. I’d like to think that people who have a gift for connecting with others along compelling storylines will stand out — no matter how crowded the field. It’s exciting to see that play out in real time, as platforms, technologies and consumer appetites evolve.

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you? 

I spent my formative years outside the U.S., so even though I’m heavily embedded in media today, many 80’s and 90’s American pop culture references go right over my head. I STILL have a lot of catching up to do!

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

It’s hard to pick just one! I’m in constant awe of my team, their work and the stories they uncover. At Seeker, we’ve been heads down focused on highlighting the new faces of science, and that’s coming to life in all kinds of ways: new series, new tentpole events, and new formats. One piece I’m particularly proud of is a collaboration we did last year with The ONE Campaign to spotlight medical innovations in HIV treatment in Ghana.  The story centers on an HIV-positive woman, who due to treatment made possible by the Global Fund, was able to conceive two healthy, HIV-negative children, and has become a coach for other patients in her community. Humanizing how science impacts our world is at the core of Seeker’s work, and I’m particularly proud of how this piece embodies that mission.