Tracy Samantha Schmidt

Tracy Samantha Schmidt

Director of Social Media Strategy at Crain Communications | Social Media Trainer & Social Media Strategist

Greater Chicago Area
Marketing and Advertising

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Tracy Samantha Schmidt's Overview

  • Director, Social Media Strategy at Crain Communications

500+ connections

Tracy Samantha Schmidt's Summary

As the director of social media strategy at Crain Communications, I am focused on growing and leveraging the diverse communities across our brands’ social profiles.

Our goals for social media include increasing traffic to our websites, engaging with our readers online, converting our followers into paying subscribers, building our database to better understand our readers’ and clients’ needs, and assisting our journalists in their reporting. Crain, a 98-year-old media company, publishes 20+ trade and business titles globally.

In addition to supporting our brands, I train our 800+ employees on the latest trends and tactics within applicable areas of social media. Previously, I provided social media consulting to several of our clients; currently I am working with our leadership to expand our corporate social strategy.

I also enjoy public speaking and teaching. Since 2011, I have taught social media marketing principles to 20,000+ people nationwide. As an adjunct instructor, I taught graduate and post-collegiate classes at the University of Chicago, DePaul University and Dominican University. I have presented at conferences including Blog World, TechWeek, Internet Week New York, Social Media Week and Ad Age Digital West. I also contribute regularly on TV and radio.

Before joining Crain, I co-created and served as the editorial director of ChicagoNow, the Tribune’s network of 400+ blogs. Within one year of launch, ChicagoNow earned 15 million pageviews monthly and was named one of five websites that could "reshape the news" by Poynter Institute and Mashable.

I began my career as a reporter and web producer at Time Magazine in Washington, D.C. While at Time, I covered many topics—including the rise of social media and was among the first journalists to use social media to cover breaking news stories. My master's thesis on the resurgence of young nuns was published as a 3-page story in November 2006; it was later re-reported by the Today Show, Oprah and MTV.

Tracy Samantha Schmidt's Experience

Director, Social Media Strategy

Crain Communications

Privately Held; 501-1000 employees; Publishing industry

February 2012Present (2 years 8 months) Greater Chicago Area

Tracy joined Crain Communications in February 2012 as the Director of Social Media Strategy and Consulting. In this role, she oversees Crain's corporate social media strategy and work closely with the social media teams at each of Crain's 25 publications. She also continues to develop events around her expertise in social media and is a frequent TV and radio contributor.

Adjunct Instructor

The University of Chicago

Educational Institution; 10,001+ employees; Higher Education industry

November 2013February 2014 (4 months) The Graham School

Tracy developed and taught a class for professionals on social media marketing for The Graham School of Continuing Studies.

Manager, Educational Programs & Lead Trainer, 435 Digital

Chicago Tribune Media Group

Privately Held; 10,001+ employees; Newspapers industry

November 2010February 2012 (1 year 4 months) Greater Chicago Area

Tracy developed a national training program for the Tribune that taught more than 5,000 adults how to use social media effectively in business.

She also presented private seminars on social media for organizations including the National Association of Broadcasters and the National Association of Realtors.

Adjunct Professor, College of Communications

DePaul University

Educational Institution; 1001-5000 employees; Higher Education industry

January 2009December 2010 (2 years)

Tracy designed and taught four separate graduate-level classes on the intersection of social media, journalism and mass communications.

Editorial Director, ChicagoNow

Chicago Tribune Media Group

Privately Held; 10,001+ employees; Newspapers industry

January 2009October 2010 (1 year 10 months)

Tracy co-created and served as the editorial director of ChicagoNow launched in 2009 and today is a network of 350+ blogs owned by Tribune Media Group.

In this role, Tracy personally recruited more than 100 bloggers to join the network, coordinated all marketing and public relations, and managed the site's day-to-day editorial operations. In less than one year, the site received more than 15 million pageviews per month.

In 2010, ChicagoNow was named one of five “innovative websites that could reshape the news” by the Poynter Institute and

Reporter and Web Producer

Time Magazine

Public Company; 201-500 employees; TWX; Publishing industry

May 2006January 2008 (1 year 9 months) Washington D.C. Metro Area

As a staff reporter at Time Magazine's Washington bureau, Tracy wrote or contributed to more than 50 stories on a range of topics. She also produced's website by working with a global team of web producers based in New York, London and Hong Kong.

In November 2006, Time published an abridged version of my master's thesis as a 3-page feature in the magazine. The story explored the surprising resurgence of young women becoming nuns in the United States. It was later re-reported by The Today Show, MTV, Teen Vogue and Oprah.

While at Time, Tracy also covered the shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007. She used Facebook to find eyewitnesses to the shootings, which made her among the first journalists to successfully use social media during a breaking national news story.

Syndicated Columnist, Pioneer Press

Sun-Times News Group

Privately Held; 1001-5000 employees; Newspapers industry

January 2000February 2003 (3 years 2 months)

At 15 years old, Tracy convinced the editor of her town paper, The Park Ridge Herald-Advocate, to let her write an unpaid column on teen issues. "Teen Talk" appeared every other week in the paper.

After six months, he finally agreed to pay Tracy and after 18 months, his editor decided to syndicate her column into 20 suburban newspapers.

Tracy Samantha Schmidt's Volunteer Experience & Causes

  • Volunteer Experience

    • President's Advisory Council

      Advocate Chidlren's Hospital
      • Children
      June 2012 present (2 years 4 months)
    • Advisory Board

      Action for Healthy Kids
      • Children
      July 2013 present (1 year 3 months)
  • Volunteer Interests

    • Causes I care about:

      • Children
      • Economic Empowerment
      • Education
      • Politics

Tracy Samantha Schmidt's Education

Tracy Samantha Schmidt's Skills & Expertise

  1. Social Media Marketing
  2. Social Media
  3. Journalism
  4. Public Speaking
  5. Personal Branding
  6. Writing
  7. Blogging
  8. Digital Marketing
  9. Teaching

Tracy Samantha Schmidt's Honors and Awards

  • Woman to Watch

    Today's Chicago Woman Magazine
    • August 2012
  • N'Media Award

    • June 2010
  • Graduate Fellowship

    The University of Illinois College of Media
    • August 2005
  • Full Scholarship Recipient

    The Institute of Political Journalism / Georgetown University
    • June 2004

Tracy Samantha Schmidt's Publications

  • Today's Nun Has A Veil--And A Blog

    • Time Magazine
    • November 13, 2006

    This 3-page feature story published in Time was an abridged version of my master's thesis on the resurgence of young nuns.

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