In our series “Behind the Byline,” we’re chatting with Atlantic staffers to learn more about who they are and how they approach their work. Hannah Giorgis is a staff writer who covers culture.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.
Nesima Aberra: How have you been lately?
Hannah Giorgis: Today, I am in better spirits than I have been. I think some of that has been that I feel a little clearer on some of my work that didn’t feel granular to me. But now I am feeling better about what I need to do next. So I’m appreciating that, but the world in general—still not great, not a huge fan.
Aberra: I imagine it must be a strange time to be a culture writer. What does it mean for you to look at the world and write about it through the lens of culture right now?
Giorgis: That’s one of the things we’ve been talking a lot about in our team, in conversation with broader editorial motivations and just things that we’ve all been grappling with for a while. We’ve started thinking about what it means to cover, say, the culture of protest or the culture of dating, just leaning into the ways that people relate to one another and the ways that people relate to the things that shape their lives. And that’s all in addition to the pillars we know—movies, TV, music, books.
I think for a little while, it felt like nothing was happening in the entertainment world and we were like, okay, what do we do and how do we respond to this. Some stuff has picked back up. And now we don’t necessarily need to write every piece as “the best thing to watch in quarantine” … We’re all in it as a country, right? So the Culture Desk isn’t explaining things to people as a first-wave thing. So I have had a little more freedom on that front to look at individual works of art separately, but there’s also stuff that has come up explicitly because of the pandemic and because people’s entertainment-consumption habits are changing.