Virginia Coyne: A day in the life of a media executive and founder

Virginia Coyne: A day in the life of a media executive and founder; 20-year veteran of the Washington press corps

Today the alarm went off 6:45am but I snoozed until 7:15. I am not a morning person.

The first thing I did was make coffee. It’s always the first thing I do.

My morning ritual includes drinking lots of coffee and reading the paper before getting my kids (a 10-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son) off to school. Breakfast is usually a spinach and blueberry smoothie made by my wonderful fiancé in the Vitamix my mother gave us for Christmas.

I started working at scheduling interviews and photo shoots for an upcoming issue of Washington Life Magazine.

My biggest challenge was pinning down all the busy people in Washington! Everyone in this city is on the go, all the time.

I celebrated Women’s History Month. I was fortunate enough to be invited to an event honoring female veterans and Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught, one of the first women generals in the Air Force, in the U.S. Capitol. First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Republican Caucus Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers all spoke. I left feeling empowered.

What I love most about my work is the unpredictability. I don’t sit at a desk eight hours a day. It’s a good fit for me. I spent 20 years in television news and it would have been hard to have a true 9-to-5 “office job” after that.

My favorite part of the day was being in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol surrounded by powerful women trying to lift each other up, no matter their political party or stage in life.

Did you have a plan for your day? Did it go as planned? Yes. The day was planned out by the hour. I answered emails and worked on a spreadsheet (writers should NOT have to make spreadsheets!) in the morning, ran to a business lunch, headed to Capitol Hill, then ran back to the office to answer more emails (yay!) before picking up the kids from their after-school activities. I admit, it wasn’t exactly perfect as I am usually a little late to everything and today was no exception, but it was a good day nonetheless.

How do you commute? I drive either to my office or to interview and photo shoot locations. Part of the job includes attending a fair amount of evening events, which I try to limit to one or two a week, in which case I Uber.

For lunch I ate a lovely grilled fish special from Peacock Cafe in Georgetown, a favorite place for low-key lunch meetings.

A personal activity I do just for myself is… when I can get to a mediation class, it is heaven. It’s hard to turn off my brain completely, but it’s nice to put it on the low setting.

I most enjoyed spending time with my kids and soon to be stepkids and my fiancé.

For dinner I had lentils and rice and a glass of red wine.

My favorite technology that I used today is…I hate to say it, but it’s the iPhone.

Did you meditate? Did you exercise? Yes and yes. Trying Barre3 now. My legs hurt.

One strategy I use to make my time more effective is I make lists of things I need to do and check them off as I accomplish them.

I am passionate about getting kids interested and engaged in what is going on in the world around them, and to not only focus on themselves.

Something I wanted to get done but didn’t get to do was answer all the emails in my inbox.

A dream I am currently focused on fulfilling is… I started a news site for kids called with business partner Cathy Stocker. We are trying to build it into a digestible but real news source for kids, teens, and teachers.

Today I felt happy, excited and energized.

I went to sleep at 1:00 am after watching two episodes of Scandal and reading some of Mark Leibovich’s “This Town” on my Kindle.

Tomorrow I am looking forward to having a casual clothing day at the office and not wearing makeup.


Virginia Coyne is the Executive Editor of Washington Life Magazine. She is the founder of NewsPop, a daily breaking news site for kids. She is a 20-year veteran of the Washington press corps, a photographer, and a mom.

After joining Washington Life Magazine in January 2015 as senior editor, she was quickly promoted to executive editor. She became the magazine’s first executive editor since Michael Clements left in 2012.

Virginia came to Washington Life from the broadcast world, where she worked for over a decade and a half at NBC News Channel’s Capitol Hill bureau as a producer. At the start of her career she interned in the Washington bureau of NBC Nightly News.

She received her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University.

Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.