Meet Entertainment Industry Leader And Former Buzzfeed VP, Alumnus Terry City
“Feel free to call me in the morning with any questions,” read Terry City’s email. “I’ll be stuck in traffic!”
With his blasé disposition towards absurd Los Angeles traffic, you may think entertainment industry guru Terry City is an all-natural, born and raised Angeleno. Once upon a time however, he was a communications student at Penn State.
A proud Happy Valley alumnus, Terry City graduated in 1990 with a degree in Television Production. With positions such as Executive Director of Sales and Strategy at Huffington Post, Vice President of Sales at Buzzfeed, and founder of Steel Titan Productions under his belt, City is a seasoned veteran in the advertising and marketing community, as well as a leader in the entertainment industry.
Though City decided to trade in snowy, rural State College for the sunny, sprawling city that is Los Angeles, he thanks his initial accomplishments here for his raging success in Tinsel Town.
City had his first taste of the world of entertainment when he became a marketing representative for Anheuser-Busch, Inc. There, he had the opportunity to work with local and national marketing teams to develop marketing and promotional initiatives. With Anheuser-Busch, City had the amazing opportunity to work alongside notable talents at a young age. He assisted with sponsored events such as the Olympics, the Super Bowl, concerts, and professional sports franchises.
Hailing from Philadelphia, City is the youngest of two older brothers and a sister, all of whom attended Penn State. He fell in love with the culture of Penn State and the sports scene. During his first visit to State College when he was 12, he immediately grew a passion for Penn State football, considering it just won the National Championship..
“I loved sports and the feeling Penn State brought. Once I felt that magic, there really wasn’t any other choice,” he said. “I knew I was going to Penn State.”
Though Penn State isn’t exactly the “big city,” he found a way to express his passions for communications and entertainment in humble State College. He focused his skills on the television industry, with dreams of being on-air talent or a TV personality. City started his own TV music show, dedicating his time to graphics, editing, planning, and everything in between.
After getting a taste for sports entertainment and music with Anheuser-Busch, City immediately wanted more. Though he loved the big sports scene and energy of Penn State, he knew Los Angeles was where he had to be to truly catapult his career and dreams. After he was done at Penn State, he wasted no time and moved to the west coast.
“I love Penn State and everything about it,” he explained. “But I haven’t been back to State College in 20 years. Los Angeles has so much to offer in terms of creativity and inspiration. I almost wish I moved out here a bit sooner.”
It was then that City started working with Variety.com, where he managed sales teams in New York and Los Angeles in Entertainment, Technology, and Production Services.
While working for Variety, City started his own side project. “I actually created my own pilot for a TV series!” He laughed, “Unfortunately, it didn’t take off. I did, however, meet my wife in the process, so I guess it all worked out.”
After four years with Variety, City spent time working with Huffington Post, Hollywood reporter, and Buzzfeed. With Buzzfeed, City was responsible for developing market strategy for entertainment, and frequently represented the brand as a keynote speaker and panelist. His position as Vice President for what is now the most popular site for viral content could impress anyone. However, when he initially joined the team in 2012, Buzzfeed was just starting up.
In this video, City explains the science behind shareable online content for Buzzfeed.
“Hardly anyone had heard about Buzzfeed at the time,” he explained. “It was incredible watching the company grow so rapidly, however — and many of the employees I hired and introduced to the company are still here today.”
Buzzfeed’s popularity has grown exponentially since, and City is happy to have been part of its inception — still keeping close ties with the company. Currently, City is working with Naritiv, a start-up company based on Snapchat that builds ongoing programming and large audiences for various brands.
Though it may seem like City has traded in blue and white for Hollywood lights, he keeps himself closely knit to Dear Old State. City is on the advisory board for Penn State’s new Hollywood Program, an initiative that helps students land internships in Los Angeles for a semester. He believes this is an excellent opportunity for students in the College of Communications and wishes he had that opportunity when he was a student.
When asked what makes a student stand out when applying for a job in the entertainment industry, City has ample advice. First, he recommends finding a facet of the industry that you love — and stick to it.
“Find a very specific area and make it your thing. Learn everything you can about it,” he said. “Employers want to see that you know the analytics and less glamorous side of Hollywood, because it really does exist.”
City also stresses that one needs motivation and the energy to travel. Whether they see themselves in New York or Los Angeles, he explains that the only way to know if the entertainment industry is for you is by taking a trip.
“If you want to work in the entertainment industry, you need to travel. To any student who wants to work in Los Angeles, I highly suggest they take the time and effort to come out here. Tour a studio, get your feet wet, see if you can really imagine yourself working here.”
As you can see, Terry City is a natural leader and veteran of the entertainment industry. From starting his own college TV show in State College to helping with the building blocks of mega-popular Buzzfeed, City is a true professional. Though he hasn’t physically been back to Happy Valley in 20 years, his fierce blue and white pride sticks with him everyday.