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Vanessa Franko, David Viramontes and Georgia Geen join the audience engagement team

Assistant editor Vanessa Franko, left, and audience engagement editor David Viramontes work on The Times’ arts and entertainment coverage. Multiplatform editor Georgia Geen is focused on news aggregator partnerships.

The following announcement was sent on behalf of Assistant Managing Editor for Audience Samantha Melbourneweaver:

I’m pleased to announce three additions to the audience engagement team.

Vanessa Franko has joined the team as an assistant editor for audience in the arts and entertainment sections. Franko will lead our digital rollout plans for the department’s most ambitious work, plan coverage for tentpole events and work alongside Julia Turner, Craig Nakano and Nate Jackson to guide the department’s audience development strategies. She will work closely with audience editors for entertainment Amy Wong and David Viramontes as well as with digital editor Jevon Phillips to ensure entertainment coverage engages our target audiences.

Before coming to The Times earlier this month, Franko spent nearly six years as digital director of entertainment and features at the Southern California News Group. Prior to that, she held multiple jobs at the Press-Enterprise since arriving in Riverside in 2006, including music/pop culture reporter, features editor and assistant managing editor for features, sports and digital. She was part of the team that was awarded the Sigma Delta Chi Award by the Society of Professional Journalists for the Press-Enterprise’s coverage of the San Bernardino terror attack in 2015. She was also a staff writer at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. Franko has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University and grew up in Atlanta and Maryland. She lives in Riverside with her husband, Jeff, maintains a collection of plants named after rock and roll icons (follow @plantsthatrock on Instagram) and enjoys a good craft beer, tacos, fantasy football and catching the Ravens, Braves and Padres whenever she can. Her greatest journalism achievement remains covering Paul McCartney’s intimate show at Pappy & Harriet’s near Joshua Tree.

David Viramontes joined the team as an audience engagement editor in the arts and entertainment sections in April. Viramontes most recently worked at Variety, where he was a social media coordinator working to promote the publication’s coverage of the entertainment industry and contribute writing to the site. He was a Los Angeles Press Club Award finalist in 2020 and part of the Webby-winning team for “best entertainment website.” Viramontes will work alongside Wong and Franko to connect readers with the Entertainment team’s work with a focus on movies, celebrity news and bringing a cool, knowledgeable voice to the entertainment social media handles.

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Viramontes studied digital media literacy at USC, where he earned a bachelor’s degree from the School of Cinematic Arts. He learned much of his social media and digital skills at his family’s marketing company, Viramontes Marketing Communications. He lives in Downey with his dog, Benny, and enjoys making musubi.

Georgia Geen joined the audience team as a multiplatform editor working on our news aggregator partnerships in April. She works alongside the audience and News Desk teams to manage the day-to-day coordination, push alerts and optimization of The Times’ journalism on news aggregator platforms. Prior to coming to The Times, Geen worked at Hearst Connecticut Media Group as a senior producer for social media, where she brought local coverage of Sandy Hook legal challenges to a national audience. She was an intern on The Times’ News Desk during the summer of 2020. Geen has a pair of bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Spanish from Virginia Commonwealth University, in addition to a certificate in Spanish-English translation and interpretation. She grew up in Richmond, Va., and will move to L.A. in the fall with her husband, Carlos, and cat, Adelaide. An avid and talented baker, she might — if you befriend her — make you a birthday cake.


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