He isn’t trying to get ahead in his career – he’s trying to stay ahead. Constantly. That’s the goal when you’re a trending news producer for NowThis, a network created by one of the founders of Huffington Post. From their offices in the heart of New York City, Ryan Sedmak ’13 produces more than 20 cutting-edge videos a week, always hoping he’ll be the first to break the news.

“One of our slogans is ‘See it first, share it first,’ so with cutting live events, speed is crucial,” Sedmak says. “We want to get a story out there before it’s trending on social media.”

Founded in 2012, NowThis caters to people who get their news from mobile devices and social media. The video network currently has 375,000 followers on Twitter and more than 2 million on Facebook.

“I love that I’m informing my generation and reaching them where they are,” Sedmak says. “As we’ve grown, I’ve enjoyed seeing my friends share our content organically.”

He also relishes the fast-paced environment – not what you might expect from someone who spent his college years in the more slowly paced and genteel setting of Charleston. But the communication major says his experience at the College more than prepared him for his current position: “My professors really stressed the importance of internships and hands-on experience. Early on, I knew that I wanted to intern at a network like NBC, and I worked with my adviser, communication professor Jenifer Kopfman, to do this. We came up with a strategy that allowed me to spend my last semester in New York working at The Today Show and Nightly News with Brian Williams and still graduate on time.”

According to Sedmak, another unexpected advantage of going to school in the South: manners.

“Being located in Charleston, the College by default boasts a considerate, polite atmosphere,” Sedmak observes. “Good manners and kindness are something that is expected of students, and the faculty does an incredible job of setting this example. The College instilled in me a commitment to this mindset as I continue to pursue my career. Thus far, I believe it has served me really well.” (News flash: You don’t have to be pushy to come out ahead.)

Aside from staying on top of the breaking news game, including producing stories surrounding Charlie Hebdo, Black Lives Matter, the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church shooting and the Paris terrorist attacks, he says, “I also highly enjoyed covering the scaling of the summit of El Capitan in November 2014. We rolled on the live footage for days, and the visuals were incredible. I did a hyper-lapse that garnered positive feedback from our founder and multiple NowThis investors. I like that what I am doing is cutting edge. This is where media is headed.”

And thanks to a college experience that afforded him great internships and great advice, Sedmak’s career was already on a roll when he graduated. As he is proving, he can head anywhere from here.

– Leslie McKellar