THE Cork woman at the helm of one of America’s leading media organisations has predicted that women will be the key to defeating Donald Trump at the next presidential election.
Ballincollig native Samantha Barry has been taking the world of digital media by storm in recent years, leading the social media expansion of CNN and steering Glamour magazine’s American edition into a new digital age.
The UCC graduate was named Glamour’s Editor-in-Chief in January of this year.
She has worked in more than 25 countries, and with some of the media’s largest names, including CNN, BBC World News in London, RTÉ and Newstalk.
“Women are going to be the story of 2020 and I mean that in two ways,” said Ms Barry.
“There will be a number of Democratic women who put their hat in the ring. Women voting and the way they vote will be a huge part of 2020,” she added.
“The majority of white women voted for Donald Trump.
“The Democrats know that, and if they want to beat Trump they need to figure out how to win back white women.
“Another interesting group in US Politics is the disenfranchised women that never vote.
“Can anyone get them out to vote?” asked Ms Barry.
“Also you’ve got a lot of young women taking to the streets in America and we’ve never seen anything on this scale in terms of an active, young female population.
“I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of that in 2019 and 2020.”
This year saw a major shift in US politics, with the Democrats taking the House of Representatives, and electing a record number of women to their seats.
“More than 100 women will walk into the House in January and that’s something to be really proud of,” said Ms Barry.
“In Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez we’ve got the youngest woman ever, along with the first Muslim woman, the first Native American woman, openly gay women and there’s such an amazing mixture of women going through the door. It’s something to be extremely proud of,” she added.
As well as being on the frontlines for the 2018 Midterms, Ms Barry also had a front-row seat for the 2016 Presidential Elections, thanks to her role at CNN.
“At the time, I was so interested in doing that because I understood the power of Facebook and other platforms in telling the story of the election,” she said.
“What I didn’t realise at the time, was that we weren’t the only ones who understood this power.
“There were some bad agents using this power in terms of the US election,” she added.
“That was really interesting to see.
“In today’s world, where there are people creating fake news and clickbait on the internet, I think creating good content is crucial,” explained Ms Barry.
“Whether that’s at Glamour or CNN or anywhere else, it’s hugely important.” The importance of digital media, to spread this content, cannot be understated, she explained.
“Digital media is huge. I’ve worked with legacy companies such as BBC, CNN and now Glamour which has been around for more than 80 years.
“All of these places have been really investing in their digital media platforms because that’s where the audiences are,” said Ms Barry.
“That’s where the audiences are, that’s where they get their information, it’s where they watch videos and more.
“I can’t imagine a place where digital media isn’t going to continue to grow aggressively with the way people consume media,” she added.
Condé Nast named Barry as editor-in-chief of Glamour, one of the biggest fashion and beauty media brands in the world, in January this year.
She said she is keen to take Glamour forward both in terms of content and online presence.
She announced in the New York Times last month that the publication would cease its monthly print schedule.
“We’re going to invest in digital, in video, and we’re going to do print a couple of times a year for big occasions like Women of the Year,” she explained.
“We’ve grown in terms of the types of the stories we tell.
“Coming from a journalism background, there are stories that we’ve covered that I think we can be extremely proud of,” she added.
Glamour recently published an investigative piece on the Hart family, all eight of whom died after their SUV plunged off a California highway in March of this year.
“We’ve got an eight series podcast coming out about that which is coming out this week,” revealed Ms Barry.
“It’s really powerful.”
Glamour has also published stories around other serious issues including a piece on young women in the US who own guns.
“The NRA is really targeting women because they’ve seen a plateau in the number of male gun owners and this is a new opportunity for them to tap into,” said Ms Barry.
“We also did a lot around the elections.”
Glamour became the place for women who were running to reach women in America, Ms Barry explained.
“We had interviews with Cynthia Nixon and with a lot of the women that were running,” she said.
“At Women of the Year, I surprised everyone by bringing Hillary Clinton out on stage which was great.
“She talked about how proud she was of all of the record-breaking women who ran this year,” she added.
“Politics has been a huge part of our coverage this year.”
With the US elections playing a huge role in the news in past year alone and a growing presence of women in politics, Ms Barry said there are huge political stories to be told, and Glamour will be there to tell them.