Catching Up with Decider Reporter Claire Spellberg
Distinguished alumni Claire Spellberg shares her experience as a Clemson English student and now reporter for Decider, the New York Post’s entertainment website.
While at Clemson, Spellberg was involved in her sorority Sigma Kappa, in which she held many leadership positions: executive vice president, vice president of programming and vice president of communications. Additionally, Spellberg participated in Slow Food of Clemson, a program focused on promoting sustainable cooking practices; Omicron Delta Kappa honors society (ODK); the Clemson Honors College, both general and departmental; the National Scholars Program, and interned at the Pearce Center.
Can you talk a little bit about your position as a reporter for Decider? What does your job entail?
I’m a reporter/producer at Decider, the New York Post’s television vertical, with a focus on news, so my day to day schedule depends on what’s going on in the entertainment landscape. The bulk of my job entails tackling breaking news stories as they come in — example, a new Netflix trailer or a major interview on Good Morning America — but I also watch The View every day at 11 a.m. with an eye for potential breakout articles (The View is very popular with our readers). The nice thing about my job is that every day is different. I never know if it will be a busy or a slow day, and I’m always working on something new, which is nice.
During your time as a student in the Clemson English department, who was your favorite professor? How did they mentor you as both a student and future professional?
I can’t speak more highly of the English department! I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with many different professors, including Dr. Field, Dr. Goss, Dr. LeMahieu and Nic Brown (Nic was my advisor on my departmental honors project). While I don’t want to single anyone out as my “favorite” professor, I will say that each helped me to become a more critical, empathetic thinker, both as it relates to my job and the world around me. I will say this: I wouldn’t work at Decider if it weren’t for JBF, who connected me with Kayla — a fellow Clemson English grad — and our editor Mark during my senior year.
Did you have a favorite English course or one that particularly challenged you?
One English experience that really sticks out is Dr. Goss’ Feminist Literary Criticism course, which I took in Fall 2016. The 2016 election loomed large over our discussions as we attempted to square our readings with the unfortunate reality of present-day events. While the election didn’t turn out the way many of us would have hoped, Dr. Goss helped us figure out how to move forward, even when it seemed like the only possible thing to do was cry. To this day, I’ll never forget that experience.
Every job requires a certain level of learning on site. Considering this, do you think Clemson English overall prepared you well for your position at Decider? Why or why not?
I do think that Clemson English prepared me for this position. Much of my job requires critical reading and thinking skills, as I spend more time aggregating news from other sources than doing original reporting. There are a few major questions that I ask about every piece I read. What part of this piece is the most important? Does anything in this argument stand out? Why would a streaming service or talk show host present their information this way? In a way, it’s not so different than the reading and writing I did in the English department: ask big questions, figure out the answers and present it in a coherent, concise manner.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to a Clemson English student interested in working in the journalism/writing for the online media industry?
The best piece of advice I’d give is to work your connections. Like I said, I wouldn’t have this job if it weren’t for JBF, but it also took some bravery on my part (I emailed Mark with a pitch, which started a relationship that led to an internship, and then a full time job). As JBF says, “Hustle, charm, repeat.” He couldn’t be more right.
As writers for Decider, you are constantly up to date with the latest in film and television. What tv-show are you currently binge-watching?
I just finished watching Zoe Kravitz’s High Fidelity series, which hits Hulu on February 14. It’s really good! I’m also a reality fan, so I like things like Below Deck and the new spinoff, Below Deck Sailing Yacht. In terms of stuff that I’m not actively watching right now (because it’s not currently on), I love, love, love Succession on HBO. I fully believe that everyone should be watching this show.
Written By: Carter Smith