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From Brown and White to Senatorial Campaign: Alumna Uses Social Media Journalism to Define Career

Annie Wu Henry, Lehigh University Alumna

Annie Wu Henry ’18 is a natural storyteller, and her skills and experience are well matched to the changing dynamic of 21st century news media and communicating.

Henry said Lehigh’s Department of Journalism and Communication helped guide and clarify her goals, hone her journalistic chops and set her on a career path filled with discovery and “firsts.” She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with minors in Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology.

“I was interested in narrative, storytelling and technology and how that was all becoming part of this world. The power and impact things like social media can have” were impressive – and inspirational – Henry said.

Currently based in Philadelphia, Henry came to Lehigh as a transfer student after attending two other colleges. She said the academic and social-collegiate experience resonated – from Lehigh’s school spirit and legendary Division 1 sports competition known as THE RIVALRY with Lafayette to its small class sizes – there were ample opportunities to explore her interests on the Southside Bethlehem campus.

From interviewing sources and writing features to managing social media for The Brown and White, Henry learned the mechanics of news gathering and writing and put those skills into practice through the digital lens of social media and against the backdrop of a constantly evolving news landscape.

“While I was on the school paper I became the first community engagement editor at the Brown and White. It was the beginning stages of that phase of journalism and what it could be,” Henry explained. 

According to roughly 4.9 billion people around the world used social media in 2023. The number is predicted to swell to 5.85 billion by 2027, the website said.

“We were just figuring out where we were sharing links to different articles, story recaps about what was happening on campus. We would tap into Instagram stories and create highlights as a record of the semester and explore how we could use these platforms to our benefit,” Henry said.

Henry said a social media department at the Brown and White grew out of her role during those early stages. Because the “playbook” for using social media as a journalistic tool hadn’t been written yet, Henry said basic reporting principles were followed. 

“It was tied into what I was learning in the classroom and going into the newsroom to do these things in a real setting, so it was impactful. That was fascinating as I was in the first stages in a student newsroom,” she said.

Spotlight Recipient

Annie Wu Henry, Lehigh University Alumna

Annie Wu Henry


Article By:

Melinda Rizzo

“Lehigh’s competitive, but if you make an effort to build relationships and articulate your passions you can find a place to make an impact.”

— Annie Wu Henry '18

She said Lehigh’s program flexibility allowed her – as a transfer student – to make the same impact as if she’d started her education as a freshman. And Lehigh’s program is unique because of those smaller class sizes and access to professors and advisors with whom students can build rapport, pitch and pursue ideas and approaches.

“I came in my junior year and was able to become an editor on the school paper quickly. I think at other schools that might not have been possible,” Henry said.

From internships to summer programs or pursuing different interests, just about anything is possible at Lehigh because gaining support and building relationships are accessible.

“Lehigh’s competitive, but if you make an effort to build relationships and articulate your passions you can find a place to make an impact,” she said.

Because online spaces are where many people find their news and where narratives are being created – including the creation and spread of misinformation – social media platforms cannot be ignored.

The 2016 presidential election cycle proved valuable to Henry’s future career goals, as her journalistic direction became linked to the social media sphere.

“It was an interesting and dynamic semester. What was happening in real time in this political election cycle – one like we’d never seen before – it was also the first election I could be part of in an academic way and also as a member of society,” Henry explained.

In 2022, Henry became the social media producer for Pennsylvania’s Democratic junior senator John Fetterman focusing on social media. He took the oath of office Jan. 3, 2023.

“We ran on one of the biggest TikTok campaigns and social media innovations at the time. It garnered a lot of attention on that platform, and I spearheaded it. Obviously there was a lot at stake in Pennsylvania, and with the [party] balance of the Senate, so it was a really fantastic team and experience” Henry said.

Going to where the population spends time and “reaching people where they were, working with influencers, surrogates, collaborative posts, celebrities and communities online” was a big part of Fetterman’s social media campaign success, Henry says.

“Speaking to them the way normal people ingest information and making it entertaining as well as informative and persuasive. We took risks, made jokes and poked fun, and we had to understand when it was time to be serious about issues,” she explained.

“We had some fun along the way, and that was the result of so many people and volunteers and getting people out to vote,” she said of the Fetterman campaign and election cycle.

Henry is currently a digital consultant working with political campaigns and organizations. She has worked recently with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY, 14th congressional district).

“I’m trying to pace myself in this space. It’s going to be a big year, and I want to be intentional about where I fall into that, and what makes sense for me at this stage in my life,” she said.

Managing the grueling pace and expectations of around-the-clock news cycles and feeds isn’t lost on Henry.

“A lot of people get burned out or don’t take the time to make sure they’re doing okay,” she said.