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May 19, 2017

Meet Lisa Buch

As an Associate Web Developer in the IEG Department, Lisa Buch (last name is pronounced “Book”) helps build and maintain WNET’s websites and some of the digital features for THIRTEEN’s website, our various programs and local stations, and direct service clients. “Typically, I get development requests from a digital producer who may need a new feature built for a program’s website or who has a new design to implement, and it’s my task to bring that to life. I love that I get to work on a wide variety of projects that all have a different focus, and it’s so satisfying to help all of our wonderful programs have their best possible presence online,” Lisa says. Read on to learn about Lisa’s leap from book publishing to web development, her favorite places on the Upper East Side, and more.

Lisa Buch

Lisa Buch

What is your background, and how did you land at WNET?

I studied Studio Art and English in college, and have always loved building and making things. I started out in publishing at Random House right after college, but really wanted to do something more digitally-focused and technical. I started to teach myself how to code, and eventually left Random House to take on a few jobs that would allow me to take programming classes while I worked. I worked as a freelancer for a while, and helped run a French school in Brooklyn before I became a Front-End developer for a makeup company. That was a lot of fun, but I missed being in an office environment (working from home gets lonely sometimes!), and I missed working in media even more. During my search for development jobs in media, I landed on this position at WNET and am so very happy to be here!

Are there any current or upcoming projects you’re particularly excited about?

I’m currently wrapping up my work on THIRTEEN’s app for FireTV, which has been so rewarding. This was the first time I’ve gotten the chance to work on an OTT (over the top) product, and I got to use some frameworks and technologies that are a lot of fun to work with. Before that, I created an online coloring book for Secrets of the Dead to promote the Van Gogh’s Ear episode, which allowed me to work with SVG — a markup language used for images — that we haven’t previously utilized. I love having the opportunity to experiment and try out new frameworks or languages – it’s a very important part of being a part of the digital landscape — and the IEG team is very open and forward-thinking in that respect.

For our Media with Impact campaign, we’ve been asking viewers to share stories describing how THIRTEEN has influenced their life. How has THIRTEEN (or the PBS station of your childhood) inspired you?

I grew up in Massachusetts, and watched a lot of WGBH (Channel 2 for us) as a kid. I liked Sesame Street, but Lambchop’s Play-Along was my absolute favorite (I rocked the sheet set AND pajamas), and I loved Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, too. I remember really perking up whenever Shari Lewis or Fred Rogers would do a craft project, and I often found myself paying more attention to how The Neighborhood of Make-Believe looked and was designed than what was actually going on! I think the creativity that was so present in these shows really sparked my interest in visual art and helped shape my drive to make things, be it with a paintbrush or with JavaScript. I also watched a lot of Zoboomafoo (with the Kratt brothers), and I think this definitely helped shape my lifelong love for animals.

Which three shows airing on our stations this month are you most likely to watch, stream, or record?

I’m really excited to watch the American Masters Chef’s Flight series, particularly the episodes on Jacques Pépin and Alice Waters. My mom and grandpa are fantastic cooks, and I can’t wait to share the knowledge I’ve gained in watching it with them! I’m also very keen to watch the American Epic episodes that are coming up. I love music and learning about little-known artists who perhaps aren’t as widely recognized anymore, but who gave rise to a lot of pop music that people take for granted today. After seeing Jake Xerxes Fussell live a couple months ago, I’ve been exploring some of the long-lost tunes from Georgia and Alabama that he has revived, and there is such a rich musical history there. Lastly, Independent Lens’ They Call Us Monsters looks really interesting, and I’m excited to check that out.

Where do you live, and what are some of your favorite places in your neighborhood?

I recently moved from Boerum Hill in Brooklyn to the Upper East Side, which has been quite the transition. I’m still getting used to the neighborhood, but I really like going to Café Jax on 84th and 2nd for a quiet place to work. They have some really interesting, creative lattes and a huge workspace. If I’m feeling fancy, Flex Mussels on 82nd and 3rd is great for dinner, and they have incredible homemade donuts. I also like going to Carl Schurz Park to unwind sometimes. It’s a small, somewhat lesser-frequented park right on the water.

What book are you currently reading?

I’m currently re-reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, because the first time around, I stopped reading the endnotes halfway through, and I feel like I’ve missed out. I’m also reading Hillbilly Elegy by J.D Vance. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this one, but I’m keeping an open mind and look forward to finishing it.

Do you have a special interest or hobby outside of work? If so, tell us about it!

Although time and space for doing so can be limited, I still enjoy making art from time to time. I really love running and am currently gearing up for a race on Shelter Island next month, and I also really like cooking (but not the cleaning up after part as much). Lastly, it’s not really a hobby, but I am a dog fanatic and spend a lot of the time I’m outside petting strangers’ dogs!

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