Jo Piazza is an award-winning journalist, editor, digital content strategist, and author. She is currently the Managing Editor at Yahoo Travel and the former Executive News Director for In Touch, Life & Style, and Closer Weekly. During the 2012 presidential election she developed a content strategy to marry multi-media platforms for the Current television network. She has written and reported for the New York Daily News, the New York Times, New Yorker ,Glamour, CNN, Fox News, The Daily Beast, and Slate. She is currently a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and Elle.com. Jo regularly appears as a commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, VH1, and NPR. She is the author of the highly acclaimed “Celebrity Inc.: How Famous People Make Money,” an economic case study of the Hollywood Industrial Complex and the novel Love Rehab. Her latest book If Nuns Ruled the World:Ten Sisters on a Mission was published this month. She holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in Journalism from Columbia University, and a Masters in Religious Studies from New York University. She lives in Manhattan with her giant dog.
Q: What is your current job?
A: I have the greatest job on earth. I am the Managing editor of Yahoo Travel. I travel around the world writing stories that inspire people to follow their own travel dreams.
Q: What inspired you to write your latest book If Nuns Ruled the World: Ten Sisters on a Mission?
A: I have always been fascinated by nuns, partly because I went to a Catholic high school. At the time I was deciding to write this book, the Vatican was investigating nuns for their involvement with a scandal in the church. These women were being attacked by the church. They were doing incredible things every day, but they were too humble to talk about it, so no one knew their stories.
Q: What is the most important thing you learned while writing this book?
A: I learned how important it is to be present in your life. The nuns are very present and happy people. They are content with their lives and are on the frontlines of social change. The nuns work with the poor and injured people who need their help. In a world where we are searching for apps that make us happy and content, they are out their making it happen.
Q: What message do you want young women to take away from this book?
A: I hope that bravery translates down. Nuns are so incredibly brave. They were brave and they took action. They saw a problem, challenge, and obstacle and took it head on. Whether it was Sister Maria, an eighty-three-year-old Ironman champion, or Sister Simone, a political lobbyist who drove a bus across the United States challenging a Republican budget that threatened the well-being of underprivileged Americans. These women have no fear, while we are constricted by fear.
Q: The media is often portrayed as a male-dominated industry that is unsupportive of women. As someone who has worked at major media outlets, do you feel like that perception is valid?
A: Not today, no. I feel that I have been very lucky. I have worked with both male and female bosses that have been extremely nurturing to me. If I had started five years earlier, it would have been a different story.
Q: What advice would you give to girls that want to work in journalism?
A: I want them to start writing now. I don’t think there is anything more important than building your brand right now. Build up your Twitter, start a Tumblr, start uncovering and discovering. I will hire someone based on their initiative to gain experience.