BC alumna named Executive Editor at Buzzfeed News

Natalia Gevara, Entertainment Editor

The popular media website of Buzzfeed’s News section has both informed and entertained millions with their reports of topics ranging from politics to  the entertainment world. The head of the news department, however, is none other than Bear Creek alumna Shani Hilton.

Hilton serves as the current Executive Editor of News at Buzzfeed. While at Bear Creek, Hilton spent four years in the journalism class, among Editor-In-Chief of “The Bruin Voice” her senior year.

However, her journalism experience goes as far back to primary school, where she founded “The Paw Print,” the paper of record for Etiwanda Intermediate School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

“I had done middle school journalism and my dad was a journalist — it seemed like a beneficial elective for me,” Hilton said.

During Hilton’s tenure, “The Bruin Voice” received a number of awards. Her success with the newspaper at Bear Creek would later encourage her to pursue a career in journalism.

“I learned a good set of fundamental values,” Hilton said. “It was a good foundation to have for a career.”

Yet Hilton still keeps in mind the values instilled in her at an early age.

“Even without the awards, it was really about staying in until 11 to get the paper done and just overall being a go getter,” Hilton said.

Hilton studied journalism at Howard University, and worked at several D.C centered media outlets. She relied on networking to score her job at Buzzfeed.

In her two years working at Buzzfeed, Hilton served as senior editor, deputy executive editor and deputy editor in chief, until she was recently promoted to executive news editor.

“She is utterly brilliant and has a great sense of how media works and what people want to read,” The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates said in an interview with Capital New York.

Hilton won over Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith in March 2013, when she stepped up and took on a story concerning controversy over Connor Habib’s speech at a community college being canceled due to his occupation as a gay porn star.

Among her success, Hilton also made Forbes’ “30 under 30 list,” and has brought attention to media diversity, being called  “arguably the most important voice” about the topic by Coates.

Additionally, Hilton puts her ethics to practice daily at Buzzfeed — with one incident being deciding how to cover the ISIS beheading of journalist James Foley. The story was covered through a screenshot of the video and transcript to Foley’s final words, rather than the actual video.

“I think she’s a pretty rare thing in being somebody who has news values in her bones but also really comes from the Internet,” Smith said in an interview with Capital New York.

Bear Creek has had a number of students who have gone on to notable careers after graduating. Hilton on her own has managed to break new grounds in journalism, with her values and nose for news being cultivated here in Stockton in her four-years on staff  for “The Bruin Voice.”