• About BJ

    BJ Barretta, Head of Video for Good Media Group (Upworthy and GOOD), is a multi-Webby Award-winning digital video leader who has personally produced and/or programmed well over 1.4 billion social video views. His expertise in emotive storytelling has grown Upworthy’s social video audience as well as helped dozens of Fortune 500 companies win the war for attention and connect with consumers on a deep, memorable, and emotional level. Prior to GMG, BJ was a producer/editor at Discovery Communications where he developed and produced digital original content spun off of tentpole television programming that included Shark Week and Whale Wars. He also produced season six of DIY Network’s I Want That.

     

    Honors and recognitions include developing and producing/editing a project that was an Interactive Emmy Finalist and a double Webby Award and Gold Addy winner; producing another Webby-winning project; producing projects earning 4 PromaxBDA recognitions; producing projects earning 4 Cynopsis recognitions; producing projects earning 4 Telly Award recognitions; producing projects earning 4 Shorty Award recognitions; producing projects earning 2 Digiday recognitions, and having a project recognized by CINE. BJ was executive producer of the most viewed branded Facebook video in November 2016. He also produced and programmed a 400 million view YouTube channel for Discovery, which includes a 180 million view video.

     

    BJ is also an occasional adjunct film professor, most recently teaching video production at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

  • Selected Video Work

    Reflections Episode 1: Caroline

    Executive Producer

    Client: L'Oreal (Cynopsis, Digiday, and Telly Award recognized)

    Fill My Basket

    Executive Producer

    Client: Cricket Wireless (most viewed branded Facebook video for Nov 2016, Shorty Award and Cynopsis recognized)

    Love Has No Labels 2016

    Executive Producer

    Client: Ad Council

    Robin Hood Heroes: Moawia

    Executive Producer

    Client: Robin Hood Foundation (2017 Webby winner)

    Five Fundamentals of Social Change Videos

    Executive Producer

    Client: YouTube (This video was a main feature on client's Webby-winning website)

    #DoinGood: Alison Stroming

    Executive Producer

    Client: Minute Maid (PromaxBDA and Telly Award recognized)

    Moringa

    Executive Producer

    International mini doc funded by a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant

    Verizon Social Justice: StreetChange

    Executive Producer

    Client: Verizon (Shorty Award recognized)

    Upstanders: Befriending her Shooter

    Executive Producer (Social Optimization)

    Client: Starbucks (Shorty Award, Fast Company, and Brandtale recognized)

    reimagine:ATL

    Executive Producer

    Client: Robin State Farm (PromaxBDA and Telly Award recognized)

    Because We're All Part of the Same Story

    Writer/Producer

    Upworthy Marketing Animation

    Parenting 2.0 Pilot

    Development Producer

    Upworthy Original Series

    Whale Wars: Final Confrontation

    Producer/Editor

    Video supporting 2013 Whale Wars television special and interactive documentary, Blood and Water (Emmy, Webby, Addy, and PromaxBDA recognized)

    Everest Jump Live: From Climbing to Flying

    Producer/Editor

    Mini doc for cancelled 2014 Discovery live television special

    2016 Producer Sizzle

  • Current Work: Upworthy/ Good Media Group

    BJ took over Upworthy original video just as the Facebook algorithm changed in January 2018. By May, video views have grown 86%, video engagement has grown 55%, and watch time has grown nearly 115%. By leaning into meaningful storytelling even more, the audience is not only growing but also sticking around longer and interacting more.

     

    Despite the algorithm change, lack of resources, and shrinking team, Upworthy Facebook video minutes viewed from Jan 1, 2018 to Jul 31, 2018 grew by 10.6% over the previous 7 months and views grew 9.8% over the previous 7 months, which was a period the team had more resources available and better reach via the algorithm.

     

     

    Samples of Original Video Team Storytelling

    The Tiny (Toilet) Home Project

    Producer: Gabe Reilich / Head of Video: BJ Barretta

    Their Love Story Continues Because Of An Amazing Organ Donor​

    Producer: Pete Bell / Head of Video: BJ Barretta

    Duties and Accomplishments

    Head of Video, Original and Branded

    • Develop strategy and manage productions, staff, and freelancers for the Good Media Group (Upworthy and GOOD) original and brand video studios

     

    • Piloted Instagram Story videos, initiated YouTube overhaul, and premiered Facebook Watch tab

     

    Brand Content Highlights and Accomplishments:

    • Produced most viewed branded Facebook video in November 2016: Cricket Wireless Fill My Basket

     

    • Provided consultation to Facebook and YouTube on how to optimize content for their respective platforms

    • Developed and manage social video optimization for Starbucks’ first branded content series: Upstanders

    • Social optimization edits yielded a 21 million view video and multiple multimillion view videos for season 1
    • Season 2 premiere earned Brandtale's Best of the Week  
    • Season 2 won Shorty Audience Honor for best branded series
    • Tubular Labs named Upworthy a 2017 #VideoAce for Brand Partner Facebook Video (146.9MM views and in top .01% of all publishers)
     
    • 14 industry honors and awards earned in 2018
     
    • 6 industry honors and awards earned in 2017
     
  • Credits

    Digital (producer/editor)

    Whale Wars, Shark Week, Deadliest Catch, River Monsters, Through the Wormhole, Alaska: The Last Frontier, Next Great Baker, Big Giant Swords, Call of the Wildman, Everest Jump Live

     

    Digital (branded content producer)

    Starbucks, L'Oreal, The CW, Ford, Facebook, YouTube, Quaker, State Farm, TD Ameritrade, Cricket Wireless, Verizon, Westin, Hallmark, Whirlpool, REI, Dignity Health, Cigna, Johnson & Johnson, Ancestry.com, Minute Maid, Pratt & Whitney, Nature Valley, Old Navy, Hasbro, Kroger, Barilla, Northwestern Mutual, Red Robin, Extra Gum, New Orleans Tourism, Disabled American Veterans, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation, Ad Council Love Has No Labels

     

    Television (producer)

    I Want That, TLC's Toddler Bowl, Surviving Death: A Paranormal Debate

     

    Television (editor)

    CBS Evening News, CBS This Morning

    Experience

    Head of Video

    Good Media Group (Upworthy)

    Jan 2018-present

     

    Executive Producer, Brand Video

    Good Media Group (Upworthy)

    Oct 2015-present

     

    Senior Lecturer, Video Production

    University of the Arts, Philadelphia

    Spring 2017 semester

     

    Adjunct Professor, History of Film

    Northern Virginia Community College

    Sep 2013-Dec 2015

     

    Producer/Editor

    Discovery Communications 

    Sep 2013-Aug 2014 /May-July 2015

     

    Series Producer

    DIY Network’s I Want That, season 6

    Sep 2014-May 2015

     

    Producer/Editor

    Discovery Digital Networks

    Apr-Sep 2013

     

    Editor 

    CBS News, Washington Bureau

    Dec 2012 - March 2013

     

    Producer/Director

    Surviving Death: A Paranormal Debate 

    short documentary

    2012

     

    Media Team Lead/Video Specialist

    ManTech

    Aug 2004-Aug 2006 /Sep 2007-Sep 2012

     

    Station Manager

    FCTV, Falmouth, MA

    Sep 2006-July 2007

     

    Special Agent, Dept. of Defense

    Defense Security Service 

    June 2002-Aug 2003

    Education

    American University, Washington, DC

    MA in Film and TV Producing

    May 2012

     

    Loyola University, Baltimore, MD

    BA in Political Science | Film Minor

    May 2002

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    AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

     

    • 2018 PromaxBDA North America Gold: Long Form Branded Content (Team: re:imagineATL, an Upworthy collaboration with State Farm)
    • 2018 PromaxBDA Global Nominee Bronze: Long Form Branded Content (Team: re:imagineATL, an Upworthy collaboration with State Farm)
    • 2018 PromaxBDA North America Nominee: Social Media/ Mobile-Based Promotional Digital Video Video (Team:  Alison Stroming, an Upworthy collaboration with Minute Maid)
    • 2018 Cynopsis Social Good Award Winner: Branded Social Media Campaign (Team: Dermablend Reflections, an Upworthy collaboration with L'Oreal)
    • 2x 2018 Cynopsis Social Good Award Finalist: Branded Campaign for a Digital, Broadcast or Cable TV Series and Branded Social Media Campaign (Team: Dermablend Reflections, an Upworthy collaboration with L'Oreal)
    • 2018 Telly Award Gold: Branded Content Social Campaign  (Team: Dermablend Reflections, an Upworthy collaboration with L'Oreal)
    • 2018 Telly Award Bronze: Social Video Series, Food & Beverage (Team: #Doingood, an Upworthy collaboration with Minute Maid)
    • 2018 Telly Award Bronze: Branded Content Campaign, Social Responsibility (Team: Upworthy's collaboration with State Farm)
    • 2018 Shorty Award Best Branded Series Winner: Audience Honor and Bronze (Team: Upstanders, an Upworthy collaboration with Starbucks)
    • 2018 CINE Golden Eagle Finalist (Team: One Time in New Orleans, an Upworthy Collaboration with New Orleans Tourism)
    • Fast Company 2018 World Changing Ideas Awards Finalist  (Team: Upstanders, an Upworthy collaboration with Starbucks)
    • 2018 Digiday Award Nominee: Best Branded Content Program (Team: Dermablend Reflections, an Upworthy collaboration with L'Oreal )
    • 2018 Cynopsis Film Festival: 3rd Place, Single Entry Branded Content/Content Marketing (Team: Fill My Basket, an Upworthy collaboration with Cricket Wireless)
    • 2017 Webby Award
      (Team: Robin Hood Heroes: Moawia, an Upworthy collaboration with The Robin Hood Foundation)
    • 2017 Digiday Award: Upworthy named best video publisher partner for brands
    • 2017 Tubular Labs: Upworthy named #VideoAce for Brand Partner Facebook Video (146.9MM views and in top .01% of all publishers)
    • 2017 Brandtale Best of the Week: Starbucks Upstanders
    • 2017 Shorty Social Good Awards Finalist: Video (Team: Fill My Basket, an Upworthy collaboration with Cricket Wireless)
    • 2017 Shorty Social Good Awards Finalist: Social Justice (Team: Street Change, an Upworthy collaboration with Verizon)
    • 2016 - Produced most watched Facebook branded video for November
    • 2014 Webby Award 
      (Team: Whale Wars Blood and Water)
    • 2014 Webby People's Voice 
      (Team: Whale Wars Blood and Water)
    • 2014 Interactive Media Emmy Finalist: User Experience and Visual Design (Team: Whale Wars Blood and Water)
    • 2014 National Gold ADDY Award 
      (Team: Whale Wars Blood and Water)
    • 2014 PromaxBDA North America Silver: Program Promotion Website (Team: Whale Wars Blood and Water)
    • 2014 - Official Selection: New Filmmakers New York Spring Series
    • 2013 - Official Selection: The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival
    • 2013 - Produced/edited 3rd most and 5th most-watched  Discovery Digital Networks videos
    • Developed/programmed 400 million-plus view YouTube channel
    • Produced/edited 180 million-plus view YouTube video
    • IADAS Member
  • Surviving Death: A Paranormal Debate

    Surviving Death: A Paranormal Debate

    Produced and Directed by BJ Barretta - Masters Thesis Film

    Does science, faith, or reality TV have the answer to what happens after we die? This 27-minute documentary explores the afterlife, which was broadcast on multiple PBS member stations and is now available on iTunes and Amazon.