Complex started as a print magazine covering youth culture, style and hip hop but in 2012, a “let’s just see how it goes” decision to start a broadcast program ended up becoming a game-changing decision. Today, Complex is a booming online media platform with an online news site and YouTube channels that reach over 120 million people — all while staying true to its original mission to be a community of creators and curators reporting on convergence culture.
Nadeska Alexis, senior anchor and senior editorial producer at Complex, perfectly encapsulates what makes the platform so unique, interesting, and cutting-edge. She got her start at MTV News before making the switch to Complex, where she oversees all other anchors and editorial content for the Complex News YouTube channel — from approving stories and pitches to booking interviews and creating original content.
“Complex moves very fast and there’s a lot of focus on youth culture. The people creating the content look like the demographic that we’re actually trying to reach,” said Alexis. On any given day, the team she oversees will release an average of 15 new, original videos.
From explaining the genesis of an iconic song to shopping for sneakers, the online shows are now the most profitable sector of the Complex media empire and have earned millions of YouTube subscribers. Additionally, Complex creates customized videos for social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram stories.
“It’s the direction the company and media are headed in general. They want to focus on video because that’s what kids are watching now. It’s the way young people want to digest most of their content,” said Alexis. She noted that most musicians or other celebrities understand that working with Complex will almost always involve some kind of video component.
Alexis and the rest of her team are busy throughout the year — whether creating content from Complex’s office in Midtown New York or traveling around the country to cover events in-person. As part of creating videos and booking interviews, Alexis has traveled to a wide range of music, sports, cultural and political events such as SXSW, NBA All-Star Weekend, the MTV Video Music Awards, the Super Bowl, and even spent some time in Cuba with Usher.
Yet even with these amazing relationships with sports leagues and celebrities, Alexis and the rest of her team strive to always abide by the fair use doctrine. Alexis expressed frustration that her team is often unable to use NFL footage as part of Complex News’ videos recapping game highlights. And when covering long-form music pieces, she and her team aren’t able to use more than 10-15 seconds of the music at a time.
“Ultimately, we want to be able to use all the assets available to make the best possible content,” said Alexis.
Alexis’s heart is in music, and so long as she can cover “music and some social justice” that she’ll be happy and creatively and professionally fulfilled. She’s also started working for Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio station providing context and information about the artists. As for her ultimate dream? Alexis said she’d love to write an HBO show, but ultimately no matter who she’s working for: “I definitely want to create.”