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Evan Hansen, MA’91, went from waxing philosophical about Heidegger at Queen’s to overseeing one of the most popular tech brands online. As the editor-in-chief for Wired.com, Hansen holds the lofty position of the master of many domains; he’s in charge of up to 50 articles daily, ranging through WikiLeaks exposés to Facebook launches to video game reviews.
Evan, 47, has come a long way since earning an MA in philosophy. In an interview, he recalls one of his most influential professors, Pal Ardal, who was “instrumental in getting me admitted to the full-time MA program.” Evan also has a number of family connections to Queen’s, including father Klaus, Professor Emeritus (History), mother Joan (retired staff, Queen’s libraries), and siblings Chris, Artsci’87, Eric, Artsci’91, and Britt Bodtker, Artsci’88.
Evan’s academic background, though non-technical, has touched his work at Wired.com, he says. “Getting into analytical thinking definitely helped in my career today.”
Going to Queen’s also helped him find his true love. Evan married Hilary Springfield, Artsci’87, and they, their two children and dog Bruno have lived in San Francisco’s Mission District since 1992.
After working for a legal newspaper, Evan wanted to stretch his skills, and so he joined tech news site CNET’s consumer media division, where he worked for several years. “CNET definitely gave me a crash course in online journalism,” he says.
He then moved to the online outlet of Wired Magazine, a well-known technology publication published by Conde Nast. His 9-to-5 routine is hectic, but manageable. As editor, his duties are varied: discussing with fellow editors what stories to assign; working with the ad sales team to build revenue; developing long-term roadmaps for both financial and journalistic success; and handling the 40 editorial staff who contribute to Wired.com.
His hard work has certainly paid off, for Wired.com attracts 55 million monthly pageviews.
“It’s a fantastic place to be,” Evan says. “There’s no better platform to learn about which technologies are trending.”
One day might see him submerge himself in social media start-ups and the next he’ll be discussing with investigative reporters the ethical consequences of reporting on WikiLeaks whistleblowers. At the very least, working at Wired.com is definitely exciting.
“You need an eclectic mix to stand out in journalism, and so we like to bring a sense of humour and edge to our stories,” Evan says. Under his leadership, Wired.com has created user-generated content contests to further engage their online community. Those kinds of initiatives inspired the Canadian magazines conference MAGNET in Toronto to invite him to discuss his “eight lessons to digital success” this past year. It seems like Evan has become a go-to expert on inspiring online brands to strive for top-quality content while also staying in the black.
What does the future hold for Wired.com and for Evan? He foresees mobile platforms such as tablet PCs becoming more prevalent, so he and his editorial team are watching that space closely. On a personal level, he’s itching to travel far from the sunny California beaches to visit the Northwest Passage, or even Antarctica.
Perhaps this is Evan Hansen’s way of saying he misses the Great White North?