NLPeople: Jake Lloyd, social media manager
This is part of a series that introduces you to the people of NLP.
Jake Lloyd, social media manager, Seattle, Washington
1. Can you tell us a little about your background and what brought you to NLP?
I have a journalism background, having grown up in Michigan reading the sports page of the Ann Arbor News (RIP) every afternoon and then writing for a local paper and the school weekly while in college. Post-graduation, I moved south and cobbled together freelance sports writing gigs in Durham, North Carolina, for a couple years during the middle of the recession. As fun as it was covering college basketball games in an incredibly competitive market, I decided to try something new through AmeriCorps. That’s what landed me in D.C. doing communications for a local nonprofit, DC SCORES, which I fell in love with. The focus soon became social media (learning Twitter in 2009 was fun!), and nine years later, a friend sent me a tweet — of course — about the opening at NLP and I jumped at the opportunity. While in D.C., I also did some freelance writing for the AP (Associated Press) and started a niche podcast on the American University men’s basketball team with two friends – we were the only media outlet that consistently covered the team!
2. How has working for NLP impacted your life or changed your world perspective?
Where do I start? When I joined NLP in 2018, I knew that the work was important and I had heard people bandy about the (now-meaningless) term “fake news,” but I really had no idea how pervasive the threat of misinformation and disinformation was to all aspects of society. It’s obviously only gotten worse since I came on board. Personally, I’ve learned to look at every story (and tweet) with nuance and a critical eye; to check my emotions at the door of every conversation about every topic; to triple-check who’s actually saying what; and to understand that multiple things can be true. Professionally, I feel privileged to work for an organization that’s tackling the biggest, most overarching problem worldwide. Name me a crisis today that couldn’t be helped by news literacy.
3. Since joining NLP, what has been the most satisfying or surprising experience?
This is weird since I haven’t met half of them in-person, but you just know when you’re working with really good people who are all dedicated to a cause — and that’s 100% the case with NLP’s staff. From our few in-person interactions (remember 2019?) to the day-to-day virtual world we now inhabit, the work wouldn’t feel so meaningful if not for the people doing it. Our community is strong despite the physical miles between us.
4. What news literacy tip, tool or resource do you most often use?
This seems simple, but just to pause, to slow down. We often say “sanitize before you share” — a term we’ve used a lot during COVID-19 — and it rings so true to me. With any piece of information, if you just take a beat and truly assess it, you’re much less likely to share a falsehood or be tricked by a bad actor.
5. You recently moved cross country. What prompted you to make such a big move?
The outdoors! The PNW’s been on my radar for quite some time and after 12 years in D.C., it was time to head to the mountains and the wealth of big-nature opportunities that this area of the country has at its doorstep. Plus, it’s pretty cool to watch basketball games here that don’t end at 1 a.m.!
6. What is the first thing you will do once we fully emerge from the seemingly unceasing COVID-19 pandemic?
Oof! Probably go to as many big indoor events — hoops games, maybe a few concerts, etc. — as I can handle in a very short period of time. Also, I’ll visit some friends I haven’t seen in a few years.
7. Aside from fighting for facts, what else are you passionate about?
As mentioned above, I love the outdoors. I just feel more alive when I’m outside — whether I’m running, hiking, biking or skiing (that’s a new, PNW-induced hobby; I’m very much an amateur). From biking down the west coast to running five 50K ultramarathons with number six coming up in June, to leading a morning free fitness-based community called November Project while in D.C. and taking in the most beautiful sunrises, I dig physical challenges in beautiful places and I also love all weather, especially rain (thus the move to Seattle). And I shouldn’t neglect basketball on this — I’m a bit of a nerd. Have you tried the NBA version of Wordle called Poeltl? It’s a daily fix for me.
8. Are you on team dog, team cat, team wombat? Or do you prefer stuffed animals to pets?
Dog/cat for sure, although I’m also a squirrel guy — they get a bad rap. I don’t own pets, but we have six chickens coming in a couple months, so that should be interesting.
9. What’s one item you always have in your refrigerator?
Siracha and salsa.
10. What’s in your pocket/backpack/laptop case right now?
Just checked — nothing! Working from home has its perks 😊.