Arik Ligeti The Narwhal

Meet Arik Ligeti, The Narwhal’s Audience Engagement Editor

While stopping short of calling Arik a full-on analytics nerd, we will tell you he spent time as a child creating spreadsheets and tracking athlete statistics. You be the judge

Proof that The Narwhal is in the midst of a pivotal period of growth is on full display in the hiring of our newest staff member: Arik Ligeti.

A former digital editor at The Globe and Mail, Arik is part news hound, part data hawk — a creature we doubted we’d ever find during the hiring search. As a non-profit and reader-funded organization, The Narwhal’s relationship with its readers is at its core — but that requires the constant upkeep of databases, website upgrades and analytical genius to keep in touch with what our readers want and expand our audience.

Sure, it might be unglamorous to some. But for the number crunchers and innovators, the behind-the-scenes work of running a thriving non-profit newsroom is also where all the magic happens.

Our team is thrilled to have Arik and his notable newsletter skills join The Narwhal.

Q: What inspired you to become a journalist?

A: Believe it or not, an early childhood goal was to become a sports commentator. I was also obsessed with tracking player statistics (hello, audience analytics!). Then, in high school, we were fortunate to have a radio station, which gave me the chance to fumble my way through a weekly show.

But things really clicked in the first year of my journalism degree: I jumped head-first into reporting for Carleton’s campus paper, The Charlatan, and came to appreciate the value in keeping our community informed — and the thrill of breaking a story.

Q: You had a pretty skookum job at The Globe and Mail as a digital editor. Why did you decide to join The Narwhal?

A: In the midst of a climate crisis, The Narwhal has been producing incredible investigative and solutions-based work around environmental issues. We need more of this kind of coverage in Canadian media — and we need to ensure we’re exhausting all options to ensure it’s getting in front of as many people as possible.

That’s why I’m eager to bring my skillset from my time at The Globe. My work there included revamping the flagship morning newsletter, responding to reader feedback and crafting explainers — duties that put the audience front and centre.

Q: What are you most excited about in your new role?

A: I’m thrilled to be working every day to help build an even stronger community of Narwhal readers and members. That will mean constant experimentation and listening to our audience to find out what they want, and what can be improved.

Q: What’s one of your favourite pieces of journalism from 2019? Why?

A: I loved this collaborative piece from MLK50 and ProPublica about low-income patients in Tennessee being sued over unpaid medical debts. In order to get those people to share their stories, the outlets sent letters in the mail and plastered flyers in neighbourhoods. Before the investigation was even published, a doctors group agreed to stop suing patients. Those engagement efforts proved that no community is too hard to reach.

Q: Do you have any secret talents?

A: I have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the cool events happening in town (yes, even your town).

Q: What’s a meal that reminds you of your childhood?

A: All of my grandmother’s cooking! I loved coming home after school to the smells of Hungarian dishes emanating from the kitchen. If I had to pick one meal, it’d probably be her cabbage rolls; it’s one of the staples we always make together when I go visit.

Emma Gilchrist is a reporter, editor, public speaker and spreadsheet-keeper. She started her journalism career more than 15 years ago…

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