Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez is a reporter at Fortune magazine, covering financial technology and the intersection of race and business. He previously interned at The Charlotte Observer and The Wall Street Journal. In this interview, conducted by email, Quiroz-Gutierrez discusses covering crypto currency and the role of student media in his career.
Q. Describe your job at Fortune. What is your typical day like?
A. I am on the crypto team at Fortune, and my beat mainly focuses on NFTs and the metaverse, which has been really exciting to cover this year.
First thing in the morning, I like to read as much crypto-related news as I can and look for anything huge that I could write a quick story on. We have reporters in Europe and Asia who usually cover crypto news that breaks overnight, but there’s never a shortage of stories and angles to explore.
After writing one or sometimes two “quick hits” I turn my focus toward longer-term stories. I wrote an interesting piece recently about how a distillery is incorporating the blockchain into its operations. This could include conducting interviews or reading other reporting for my research. Occasionally Fortune sends me to some of their conferences, which have been great for networking.
Q. What do you find most interesting about the fintech beat?
A. Crypto, NFTs and the metaverse were hot topics this year. It’s been interesting to see some of the industry’s most prominent figures, such as crypto exchange FTX’s former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, fall from grace.
On the flipside, I’ve enjoyed learning more about blockchain technology and the troves of new companies trying to use it for events, so-called “phygital” products, and manufacturing.
Q. How do editing and headline writing work at Fortune?
A. After I finish writing an article I’ll file it to my editor, Justin Doom, who does most of my edits. Doom was a professor at Arizona State University, and he revises my copy with the touch that only a professor can bring.
After he makes changes, he’ll send it back to me with notes, and I’ll put the story in our content management system. Fortune has a Slack channel for help with headlines and deks. Sometimes I’ll ask for headline ideas in there.
Q. You are an alum of the journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill and a former co-editor of The Daily Tar Heel. What skills and concepts that you learned there apply to your work now? What have you learned since?
A. The most important lesson I learned at The Daily Tar Heel was distinguishing what’s a story and what’s noise. It turns out, though, many things can turn into a good story with the right voices and angle.
Since then, I’ve realized that one story can yield limitless follow-ups and variations, as long as it remains interesting to the reader. The Daily Tar Heel provides the best training for reporting out in the world, and it’s important for young reporters to apply the lessons they gain there to their future work.