From Courier to Curator: Ellen Przepasniak’s Journey with the Buffalo News

Ellen Przepasniack always dreamed of writing for the Buffalo News.

“All this time, I knew I wanted to be at the Buffalo News. It’s my hometown paper,” Przepasniack said. 

Przepasniack, 39, attended Fredonia University. She wrote for various publications, starting with her college newspaper. She was an editor in college and said, “[it was] where I got the passion for journalism as I have it today.”

After college, Przepasniack worked for a Jamestown newspaper. She served as features editor for two years before attending Boston University for her master’s degree in journalism.

She earned her second degree and returned to her roots. After applying to the Buffalo News “for probably 15 years,” Przepasniack looked to achieve her dream of writing in Buffalo.

Przepasniack said she applied for various jobs and internships at the Buffalo News, but kept getting rejected. However, she stayed on their radar with persistent effort. 

“Finally, when I was hired, it was the right job at the right time,” Przepasniack said.

Przepasniack served as digital editor for the Buffalo News, curating online content to best engage audiences across social media platforms. She said her work included tweaking story formats and wording for digital publication. She spoke heavily about her involvement with the paper’s audience, as an “audience editor.”

“We consider ourselves the experts on our audience. We have to think, this story is about ‘x’, how does our audience want to see it if they’re on Facebook? If our Facebook audience is not interested in that topic, then we might not even post the story to Facebook,” said Przepasniack. 

Przepasniack said the best stories come from understanding your audience, “If you understand what your audience wants to read – and at what time, and in what format – then there should technically be no topic that is not of interest.”

Within the last year, Przepasniack used her work at the Buffalo News to springboard to a job at a larger newspaper: the Chicago Tribune. She now serves as senior audience editor, overseeing a team of six people. The new role built on her previous experience.

“I’m doing similar work but more advanced at the Chicago paper, and obviously there’s a bigger circulation there,” Przepasniack said. “I always tell people: I don’t ever have a day where I’m not busy. I’m either busy or super busy.”

She said her job changes “every six months,” and she analyzes trends to ensure that the Chicago Tribune reaches digital audiences as effectively as possible.

Although Przepasniack works in a bigger market, she stayed grounded in Buffalo. She works remotely, allowing her to advance her career without severing ties with her beloved hometown.

Even after moving to greener pastures, the Buffalo News’ mark remains on Ellen Przepasniack. The paper shaped her life and career.

“It’s hard to leave… [I] grew up in Western New York. It’s your hometown paper,” she said. “My first job was delivering the Buffalo News when I was 11.”


Ryan Tantalo - University at Buffalo Student, Journalist, Hockey Announcer, Broadcaster

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