How One Video Producer Uses Her Platform to Make Political Change
Sara Kenigsberg has always been super-involved. In high school, this meant a schedule packed with extra-curriculars. Today, it means combining her love for journalism, video, and politics into a multi-faceted career. The D.C. resident is a senior video producer at MoveOn.org, an independent online political group that aims to create real progressive change from the ground up. She’s met the likes of Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren and worked on clips that transform political issues into informative, entertaining stories.
“Visual storytelling is such a great way to educate people and advocate for change,” she told us. “Why not hit them with it when they're on their phones on the go or lying on the couch thumbing through social media?” See how Sara made it happen below.
What were you like as a teen?
I was very involved with a lot of different things. In high school, I played three sports, wrote for the school newspaper and founded a volunteer club with my friend. I babysat and worked at a restaurant for my first jobs, too.
As an adult, what do you wish you could tell your teenage self now?
Probably to start doing yoga, haha. Honestly, I wish I could tell my teenage self that it's awesome I'm so involved and busy, but just to remember to breathe. Be present. Enjoy where you are now and stop worrying so much. Be positive. Believe in yourself. And take care of yourself. I don't think self-care was a word I knew.
How exactly did you get to where you are now, professionally?
When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a writer. I first wrote fiction and then started writing non-fiction stories when I joined my school newspaper in high school. I was accepted into Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and started making videos as a way to tell stories. I interned with NBC, ABC, and CBS News while in college, but ended up taking a job at a startup in Washington, D.C. producing online videos after I graduated. Since then, I've stayed in the online video space but transitioned to advocacy work with MoveOn.org during this past election.
What's one thing you wish you had known then that you know now about having a career?
I wish I had known that success is relative. Focus on finding what you love to do. If you can make a career out of that, then wow—that's success right there. And if you have a career you don't love, keep looking or make sure you have things you love outside of work, too. That's important. Make sure you have a balance.
What work advice do you have for teens or for young people just starting out?
Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with people. Don't be afraid to reach out to people who inspire you. I got my first internship at NBC and my first job after college from emailing people I didn't know personally, but who I looked up to—just by asking if they were hiring. Self confidence is attractive, and so is taking the initiative to go after what you want.
What's the most important thing you've learned since the 2016 presidential election?
One major lesson I've learned since the 2016 presidential election is just how important every voice, every body, and every vote is. You are making a big difference when you show up, whether that’s going to a rally or protest, calling members of Congress to voice concerns about dangerous policies, or of course, by voting. So when you can vote, exercise that vital right! Read up and be informed. Decide that maybe you'll run for office someday. Young people are the ones who will ultimately decide the direction this country will go in.
What advice do you have for teens who want to make political change but don't know how to start?
Figure out what issues you're passionate about, then plug into groups and communities around those issues. And if there isn't a group yet, then start one. Make other people care, too.