Posts tagged with ‘Buzzfeed’

Business News, August 2014 Edition
Buzzfeed, which gets about 150 million of us to visit each month, just closed a $50 million round with Andreessen Horowitz, the prominent technology venture firm.
Chris Dixon, general partner at the VC firm, says Buzzfeed is a “full stack" startup, meaning that it’s not just an online publisher, but rather an online publisher with integrated end-to-end technologies.
In this case, a media stack on which listicles and in-depth reporting can co-exist side by side, driven by a modern content management system, integrated analytics and ad serving engines, and a 75 person team creating “native content” for advertisers. It’s repetitive to say Buzzfeed also gets the social thing. About 75% of Buzzfeed’s traffic comes from social media.
What, fundamentally, makes this an interesting investment to Dixon? A mastery of social, mobile, content and tech:

Many of today’s great media companies were built on top of emerging technologies. Examples include Time Inc. which was built on color printing, CBS which was built on radio, and Viacom which was built on cable TV. We’re presently in the midst of a major technological shift in which, increasingly, news and entertainment are being distributed on social networks and consumed on mobile devices. We believe BuzzFeed will emerge from this period as a preeminent media company.

Meantime, legacy media companies are dropping their print publications. “Divestiture" is the name of the 2014 game. Three companies built on print — Ganett, the Tribune Company, and EW Scripps — are focusing on television, radio and the Internet, and spinning off their print properties to survive as independent companies that sink or swim as the tides may turn.
Says The New York Times’ David Carr:

The persistent financial demands of Wall Street have trumped the informational needs of Main Street. For decades, investors wanted newspaper companies to become bigger and diversify, so they bought more newspapers and developed television divisions. Now print is too much of a drag on earnings, so media companies are dividing back up and print is being kicked to the curb.

The news behind the news, of course, is that already reeling smaller, regional papers will increasingly vanish without the financial buffer provided by being part of larger diversified companies. This, despite the fact that 72% of Americans follow local news via these same print publications. Then again, many outside the news media bubble don’t know about the financial disruption that’s churned the industry over the last decade.
Via last year’s Pew State of the Media Report:

[T]he majority of people surveyed early this year had heard little or nothing about the financial problems besetting news organizations. The largest group of respondents—36%—said they heard “nothing at all” about the issue and the second largest—24%—said they heard “a little.”

So where goes print?
As news of the $50 million Buzzfeed round pinged about the Internet, a quieter profile of Harper’s publisher John MacArthur hit the Web. In it, he doubles down on print:

The web is bad for writers, [MacArthur] said, who are too exhausted by the pace of an endless news cycle to write poised, reflective stories and who are paid peanuts if they do. It’s bad for publishers, who have lost advertising revenue to Google and Facebook and will never make enough from a free model to sustain great writing. And it’s bad for readers, who cannot absorb information well on devices that buzz, flash and generally distract.
He does not want to explore many of the new revenue streams favored by other publishers — like Monocle, which has stores and a radio station. He will not let advertisers sponsor a section of the magazine, let alone place native ads, for fear that it will look as if they own Harper’s. He does not want conferences or to make videos. “A magazine should be a magazine,” he said. “A newspaper should be a newspaper.”

Harper’s, like other general interest literary magazines, consistently loses money. Then again, as a nonprofit backed by the MacArthur foundation and its $5.7 billion endowment, it’s not going away anytime soon.
For the rest: the forecast reads rocky times ahead.
Image: Old Carissa shipwrecked off the coast of Oregon, via Erin Misserion on Flickr. Select to embiggen.

Business News, August 2014 Edition

Buzzfeed, which gets about 150 million of us to visit each month, just closed a $50 million round with Andreessen Horowitz, the prominent technology venture firm.

Chris Dixon, general partner at the VC firm, says Buzzfeed is a “full stack" startup, meaning that it’s not just an online publisher, but rather an online publisher with integrated end-to-end technologies.

In this case, a media stack on which listicles and in-depth reporting can co-exist side by side, driven by a modern content management system, integrated analytics and ad serving engines, and a 75 person team creating “native content” for advertisers. It’s repetitive to say Buzzfeed also gets the social thing. About 75% of Buzzfeed’s traffic comes from social media.

What, fundamentally, makes this an interesting investment to Dixon? A mastery of social, mobile, content and tech:

Many of today’s great media companies were built on top of emerging technologies. Examples include Time Inc. which was built on color printing, CBS which was built on radio, and Viacom which was built on cable TV. We’re presently in the midst of a major technological shift in which, increasingly, news and entertainment are being distributed on social networks and consumed on mobile devices. We believe BuzzFeed will emerge from this period as a preeminent media company.

Meantime, legacy media companies are dropping their print publications. “Divestiture" is the name of the 2014 game. Three companies built on print — Ganett, the Tribune Company, and EW Scripps — are focusing on television, radio and the Internet, and spinning off their print properties to survive as independent companies that sink or swim as the tides may turn.

Says The New York Times’ David Carr:

The persistent financial demands of Wall Street have trumped the informational needs of Main Street. For decades, investors wanted newspaper companies to become bigger and diversify, so they bought more newspapers and developed television divisions. Now print is too much of a drag on earnings, so media companies are dividing back up and print is being kicked to the curb.

The news behind the news, of course, is that already reeling smaller, regional papers will increasingly vanish without the financial buffer provided by being part of larger diversified companies. This, despite the fact that 72% of Americans follow local news via these same print publications. Then again, many outside the news media bubble don’t know about the financial disruption that’s churned the industry over the last decade.

Via last year’s Pew State of the Media Report:

[T]he majority of people surveyed early this year had heard little or nothing about the financial problems besetting news organizations. The largest group of respondents—36%—said they heard “nothing at all” about the issue and the second largest—24%—said they heard “a little.”

So where goes print?

As news of the $50 million Buzzfeed round pinged about the Internet, a quieter profile of Harper’s publisher John MacArthur hit the Web. In it, he doubles down on print:

The web is bad for writers, [MacArthur] said, who are too exhausted by the pace of an endless news cycle to write poised, reflective stories and who are paid peanuts if they do. It’s bad for publishers, who have lost advertising revenue to Google and Facebook and will never make enough from a free model to sustain great writing. And it’s bad for readers, who cannot absorb information well on devices that buzz, flash and generally distract.

He does not want to explore many of the new revenue streams favored by other publishers — like Monocle, which has stores and a radio station. He will not let advertisers sponsor a section of the magazine, let alone place native ads, for fear that it will look as if they own Harper’s. He does not want conferences or to make videos. “A magazine should be a magazine,” he said. “A newspaper should be a newspaper.”

Harper’s, like other general interest literary magazines, consistently loses money. Then again, as a nonprofit backed by the MacArthur foundation and its $5.7 billion endowment, it’s not going away anytime soon.

For the rest: the forecast reads rocky times ahead.

Image: Old Carissa shipwrecked off the coast of Oregon, via Erin Misserion on Flickr. Select to embiggen.

If Buzzfeed Titled Books

Waterstones asked Twitter how Buzzfeed would title books. The result: 16 #BuzzfeedBooks You Have To Read Before You Die.

Images: Screenshots of Harry Potter, The Inferno and the Bible, via Waterstones.

How the Internet Ecosystem Works

CollegeHumor explains the Internet in four simple stages. Predditors and BuzzardFeeds and AggreGators, oh my!
So where does Tumblr fit in the ecosystem?

TumblBees gather LOLlen to take back to their hive, where it is converted into #funny and fed to follower drones. Sometimes a hive will collapse due to an overload of drama. Scientists have attempted to explain this phenomenon, but for unexplainable reasons they “can’t even.”

Image: Stage 1 of the Internet Ecosystem. See the whole thing here.

How the Internet Ecosystem Works

CollegeHumor explains the Internet in four simple stages. Predditors and BuzzardFeeds and AggreGators, oh my!

So where does Tumblr fit in the ecosystem?

TumblBees gather LOLlen to take back to their hive, where it is converted into #funny and fed to follower drones. Sometimes a hive will collapse due to an overload of drama. Scientists have attempted to explain this phenomenon, but for unexplainable reasons they “can’t even.”

Image: Stage 1 of the Internet Ecosystem. See the whole thing here.

Image Management
Beyonce Knowles has banned press photographers from her ‘Mrs. Carter’ concert tour in an attempt to prevent unbecoming photos of herself from being used by the media. This appears to be a response to unflattering photos published by Gawker and Buzzfeed from the singer’s Superbowl performance.
Now, Beyonce’s personal photographer, Frank Micelotta, is the only one officially allowed to capture images of Beyonce during her concerts. The press is then given a link to an “official” website where they must register to download “approved” images.
In an article in Slate, Alyssa Rosenberg points out the quandary of celebrities censoring — or otherwise trying to completely control — their pictures:

"[Beyonce is] turning the media into a distribution machine for whatever message she wants to send, rather than accepting that others have the right to judge the tour, as a product she’s offering up."

FJP: Pop stars aren’t the only ones practicing the dark arts of image control.
Earlier this winter Politico published an article about the Washington press corps’ frustration with their access to the White House. Part of that criticism was the Obama administration’s use of social media to bypass them with images and information posted directly to the public.
For example, the White House Flickr gallery is made up of photographs by Pete Souza, the official Obama administration photographer. Souza captures and even stages pictures of the president — like Obama’s moment of silence photo op held in honor of the Boston bombings — and many of those images have been used by the news media.
Is it acceptable that politicians can craft their own image, but not celebrities? And how authentic can journalism be if everyone gets their images from one, tightly controlled source?
Sort of related: Attorney, Carolyn E. Wright, points out in  Slate’s Manners For The Digital Age podcast: if you’re in a publicly-accessible area, and you don’t have an expectation of privacy, you’re fair game to be photographed.
Famous people, beware: as long as the media have their will, they’ll get you on camera their way — be you Obama, or be you Beyonce. — Krissy
Image: Beyonce from the Super Bowl, via Pocket-Lint.

Image Management

Beyonce Knowles has banned press photographers from her ‘Mrs. Carter’ concert tour in an attempt to prevent unbecoming photos of herself from being used by the media. This appears to be a response to unflattering photos published by Gawker and Buzzfeed from the singer’s Superbowl performance.

Now, Beyonce’s personal photographer, Frank Micelotta, is the only one officially allowed to capture images of Beyonce during her concerts. The press is then given a link to an “official” website where they must register to download “approved” images.

In an article in Slate, Alyssa Rosenberg points out the quandary of celebrities censoring — or otherwise trying to completely control — their pictures:

"[Beyonce is] turning the media into a distribution machine for whatever message she wants to send, rather than accepting that others have the right to judge the tour, as a product she’s offering up."

FJP: Pop stars aren’t the only ones practicing the dark arts of image control.

Earlier this winter Politico published an article about the Washington press corps’ frustration with their access to the White House. Part of that criticism was the Obama administration’s use of social media to bypass them with images and information posted directly to the public.

For example, the White House Flickr gallery is made up of photographs by Pete Souza, the official Obama administration photographer. Souza captures and even stages pictures of the president — like Obama’s moment of silence photo op held in honor of the Boston bombings — and many of those images have been used by the news media.

Is it acceptable that politicians can craft their own image, but not celebrities? And how authentic can journalism be if everyone gets their images from one, tightly controlled source?

Sort of related: Attorney, Carolyn E. Wright, points out in Slate’s Manners For The Digital Age podcast: if you’re in a publicly-accessible area, and you don’t have an expectation of privacy, you’re fair game to be photographed.

Famous people, beware: as long as the media have their will, they’ll get you on camera their way — be you Obama, or be you Beyonce. — Krissy

Image: Beyonce from the Super Bowl, via Pocket-Lint.

Do Social Media Sites Like Tumblr Need Their Own News Publications?
We learned last week that Tumblr is shutting down Storyboard — the news blog responsible for reporting on creative and noteworthy posts by Tumblr users. Tumblr’s cofounder, David Karp, posted his explanation for Storyboard’s closing on the site’s staff blog, saying: “What we’ve accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now, and our editorial team will be closing up shop and moving on.”
Karp mentions that Storyboard partnered with the likes of WNYC, Mashable, Time, etc. and was even nominated for a James Beard Award (to name a few accomplishments). So, why is it best to “move on” when the project has been so successful? 
The consensus (here, here, and here) seems to be that Tumblr needs to downsize to turn a profit this year. However, in an interview with The New York Times, Charlie Warzel, deputy technology editor at Buzzfeed, suggested Storyboard is closing because there’s no point in writing about what you can just go and see for yourself. He said:

It is always peculiar when a social network branches out into publishing, it just seems odd to bring on even excellent editorial talent to cover what is already going on organically.

And he’s not the only one who shares the sentiment. 
The New York Times calls attention to Dan Fletcher (a journalism school graduate) who quit his “amorphous” job as managing editor of Facebook in 2012. His position required him to write about FaceBook trends. He said that reporters aren’t needed on FaceBook and that articles detract from user activity that is “inherently more interesting” than the articles themselves.
FJP:  Why is it “peculiar” that an excellent editorial staff would be reporting on the “organic” events of social media communities? Isn’t that what journalists do? Just because social media communities exist in the cyber-verse doesn’t make them less newsworthy.
Admittedly, Storyboard and other social media news blogs (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) aren’t exactly watchdog reporters (they want to talk about the posts that make themselves look good, after all), and that should make us question whether these publications can really be “journalistic.” But social media news is in its larval stage. Maybe, in the future, social communities will be publishing articles about juveniles who break copyright laws, and sites will be locking people’s profiles in cyber-jail-blocks for weeks due to hazing. Surely, social sites are gonna need some objective, guardian watchdogs for that, right? Eh? — Krissy
Image: Screenshot from Storyboard.

Do Social Media Sites Like Tumblr Need Their Own News Publications?

We learned last week that Tumblr is shutting down Storyboard — the news blog responsible for reporting on creative and noteworthy posts by Tumblr users. Tumblr’s cofounder, David Karp, posted his explanation for Storyboard’s closing on the site’s staff blog, saying: “What we’ve accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now, and our editorial team will be closing up shop and moving on.”

Karp mentions that Storyboard partnered with the likes of WNYCMashableTime, etc. and was even nominated for a James Beard Award (to name a few accomplishments). So, why is it best to “move on” when the project has been so successful? 

The consensus (herehere, and here) seems to be that Tumblr needs to downsize to turn a profit this year. However, in an interview with The New York Times, Charlie Warzel, deputy technology editor at Buzzfeed, suggested Storyboard is closing because there’s no point in writing about what you can just go and see for yourself. He said:

It is always peculiar when a social network branches out into publishing, it just seems odd to bring on even excellent editorial talent to cover what is already going on organically.

And he’s not the only one who shares the sentiment. 

The New York Times calls attention to Dan Fletcher (a journalism school graduate) who quit his “amorphous” job as managing editor of Facebook in 2012. His position required him to write about FaceBook trends. He said that reporters aren’t needed on FaceBook and that articles detract from user activity that is “inherently more interesting” than the articles themselves.

FJP:  Why is it “peculiar” that an excellent editorial staff would be reporting on the “organic” events of social media communities? Isn’t that what journalists do? Just because social media communities exist in the cyber-verse doesn’t make them less newsworthy.

Admittedly, Storyboard and other social media news blogs (FacebookTwitterPinterest) aren’t exactly watchdog reporters (they want to talk about the posts that make themselves look good, after all), and that should make us question whether these publications can really be “journalistic.” But social media news is in its larval stage. Maybe, in the future, social communities will be publishing articles about juveniles who break copyright laws, and sites will be locking people’s profiles in cyber-jail-blocks for weeks due to hazing. Surely, social sites are gonna need some objective, guardian watchdogs for that, right? Eh? — Krissy

Image: Screenshot from Storyboard.

Associate Animals Editor at BuzzFeed in New York, NY →

One of you intrepid reporters is applying for this, yes?

Here’s what your day would like like:

  • Scour the web looking for content to post to BuzzFeed.com
  • Create original, highly shareable lists, posts, and articles about cute animals 
  • Help run the Animals social media accounts with style and verve

For other BuzzFeed jobs, check here. There’re a bunch.

The Onion Picks Kim Jong Un as Sexiest Man Alive, China Believes It
From China’s People’s Daily newspaper, largely quoting the Onion announcement, which describes the leader as follows:

With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true.

Also of note: a commenter at Buzzfeed found the article reposted at The Korean Times. And of one more note: remember, this has happened before.
H/T: Buzzfeed.

The Onion Picks Kim Jong Un as Sexiest Man Alive, China Believes It

From China’s People’s Daily newspaper, largely quoting the Onion announcement, which describes the leader as follows:

With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true.

Also of note: a commenter at Buzzfeed found the article reposted at The Korean Times. And of one more note: remember, this has happened before.

H/T: Buzzfeed.

Modern Media Revenue Strategies: A Panel From The Columbia Media Conference

Six of the sharpest minds in the business of journalism just sat down to discuss the strategies they’re using now, and where they’re laying bets for the future.

The FJP was in the audience, and has paraphrased the discussion below. 

The Highlights:

  • McKinsey & Co’s Jonathan Dunn saying that ALL of their print clients believe their future is in video.
  • The Awl’s Choire Sicha spilling the beans on which popular advertising unit is a huge waste of money.
  • Buzzfeed’s Jon Steinberg saying that young journalists should be considering making branded content for The New York Times, Huffington Post and everyone else.
  • Buzzfeed’s Jon Steinberg talking about where their traffic comes from.
  • Slate’s Matt Turck talking their multi-pronged revenue model.
  • McKinsey & Co’s Jonathan Dunn saying the tablet and smartphone advertising spend will grow from $1B in 2011 to $4B in 2012.

The Panel 

The conversation started with the panel members discussing the models they think are going to work.

Reminder; what follows paraphrases the conversation, with some omissions.

Matt Turck, publisher of Slate

When we first put a paywall up we had 20,000 people at $20 year at the first try. But that was not enough revenue to run a business.

If we’ve got the right people and ideas we can give the content away and it’s a viable business, that said we’re looking for new revenue; for example we’re in the events space. We syndicate a lot of our content, selling our high quality journalism to other publications at a low cost. We partner with YouTube, and there are a number of other small things; We’re experimenting with creating a membership program so that people who join get free entry to some events, and access to our editors that they wouldn’t get.

Buzzfeed’s president and COO Jon Steinberg.

The question is not how do you create a journalism revenue. It’s how do you create a robust business that can also support journalism. Conde Naste and Hearst have not made the transition to new models.

Harper’s Magazine, Vice President for Public Relations Jason Chupick

Any and all brand extensions that play off our tradition (which goes back to Mark Twain and Herman Melville) are on the table. Whereas a lot of people are focussed on short, quick journalism, we’re looking at going more towards long form. To re-invent what we have now would be extraordinarily hard, but we don’t need to be a big organization, we’re a non-profit.

Columbia Journalism School’s Dean of Academic Affairs Bill Grueskin.

(He said that despite having been the Managing Editor Online and Deputy Managing Editor of News for the Wall Street Journal, which had a very successful paywall, he said he didn’t believe that paywalls are a good solution for most publications) 

The WSJ now has more than 1,000,000 subscribers, paying between $75 & $150/year, but even when I was there we realized that the subscription model was a problem for advertisers, and this is the WSJ. Therefore we opened up so that google, email, social traffic could get in for free, and provide the amount of traffic that would be attractive to advertisers.

Paywalls are a defensive move, to protect the print products that represent 70-80% of revenue, but it’s time to go from defense to offense (actually it was about 5 years ago). 

McKinsey & Co’s Associate Principal, Media & Entertainment Practice, Jonathan Dunn

There are two big trends in the space: Video and the importance of data. 

Advertising revenue is breaking into two segments; premium (when you know you’ve got a audience with a particular ) and ‘remnant’, the low-end of not-particularly targeted. 

We don’t have a single print client who doesn’t see their future as video-based because the advertising on video is much more valuable. 

Regarding the importance of data; you must know in deatil who your audience is so you can effectively advertise them, and find relevant new opportunities. These days potential investors in media businesses don’t even want to talk to founders, the only thing they want to see is the analytics of the audience.

The AWL’s Founder and Editor In Chief Choire Sicha.

As a small independently-owned company, how big can we get? We aren’t expecting to scale. But that’s OK; The business models of each publication are intrinsically linked to their backgrounds and missions.

Buzzfeed’s  Jon Steinberg: 

Even in the glory days of magazines, most publications were never bigger than a mid-sized, but scale isn’t necessarily the key. For a recent advertising contract, Buzzfeed was competing with Awl, a much smaller site. But Awl still won contracts off the bigger buzz feed because their creative and audience was more attractive. Awl had enough inventory to fulfill that advertiser’s needs, because unless the client is the size of McDonalds, and is aiming to reach huge broad audiences, mid-sized audiences at OK.

Slate’s Matt Turck.

The unique solution that you build for your advertising partners is the key.  

Buzzfeed’s Jon Steinberg

The reason that there’s a debate about whether banners are good is that they’re crap. If a product is good there’s no debate.

At this point, the conversation moved on to whether tablets are a real opportunity.

Harper’s Jason Chupick

We’re on zinio, but it’s a stop-gap for most magazines, the PDF-like experience isn’t good enough. Tablets are the place to be if you’re a long-form magazine. Interactive firms need to hire better content creators. Making high quality interactive experiences is going to get cheaper. [Cited The Atavist, a tablet and smartphone-native publishing platform]

You’re going to have to show growth across all platforms for advertisers to be interested.

McKinsey & Co’s Jonathan Dunn

Our best guess is that $1B of advertising went to tablet or smartphone advertising in 2011, which is basically ad agencies’ experimental budget, but in 2012 we calculate that figure will be $4B, and in 2013 it’ll be $5B-$8B.

Buzzfeed’s Jon Steinberg

I don’t think the app thing is worthwhile. 40% of our site traffic is from mobile. Having a mobile strategy is like having a laptop strategy five years ago.

When asked about apps, ‘there are a lot of things people think that aren’t based on data’.

If people looked at the data which says no-one remembers the welcome screen advertisers, they’d be a lot better off.

The Awl’s Choire Sicha

No-one ever sees the advertisements at the top of a webpage. We’ve seen the research that shows everyone immediately scrolls down a little bit when they visit a page for the first time [to hide the top banner ads].

Columbia Journalism School’s Bill Grueskin

One of the big problems from the newspaper industry is that they’ve asked how they can repurpose their print content, but most newspaper content doesn’t work well and it stymies them from developing new content that is native to the new platforms.

The Awl’s Choire Sicha

There is no right answer about whether to put print content online for free; it depends entirely on the product and category.

The conversation turned to social media.

Buzzfeed’s Jon Steinberg

We get double the traffic from Facebook than we do from google, and that’s the same throughout our network.

Google’s algorithm is too unpredictable. So Facebook, which is real human beings sharing your content is a much more sustainable way of building audience.

Slate’s Matt Turck

 We’ve got 450,000 followers on twitter, 250,000 on Facebook. We’re having more and more conversations with readers on Facebook, our editor gets questions from the Facebook audience for his interviews.

At this point, the conversation moved on to the skills young journalists should get themselves.

Columbia Journalism School’s Bill Grueskin

You still need to know how to get information, verify it, present it in a compelling way, and understand what your audience needs.

I’m not a fan of the swiss army knife journalist who can do a hundred things, but none of them well.

Being able to engage readers on social media, not just as a distribution process, but to help you understand what your audience needs and what your community knows about the story you’re working on.

If you can do all of that you can go to a news organization and make a compelling case about why you should be hired.

Buzzfeed’s Jon Steinberg

There are a whole lot of journos, (Nate Silver, Ben Smith) who have become little industries in themselves.

Advertising is an amazing industry, that you can love and be inspired by.

If you read the advertising titans’ books you’ll be inspired.

There’s a massive need for journalists to make branded content. If you can do that, you can go to everyone, Huffpo, NYT, Buzzfeed who will need your ability.

Slate’s Matt Turck

Now more than ever before the individuals have become brands. If you can build a following, there’s not a publication out there who won’t take a look at you.

You’ve got to keep changing so fast with the industry. Embrace Change.

Buzzfeed’s Jon Steinberg 

Going back to the branded content topic; you need to have a solid wall between branded content and the rest. At Buzzfeed we have an absolute separation, between the two sides of our business, both in the organization and on the site. Every day we put content up on our sites that will annoy our advertisers.

As noted above, this paraphrases the discussion and omits some of the conversation. If you can add, or refine the article, please email Fergus Pitt.

Disclosure: Bill Grueskin is the author’s masters thesis supervisor.

shortformblog:

BuzzFeed knows how to create traffic from thin air. (Related: This Chicago teachers’ strike deal is actually a pretty serious story, kids.)

Is it really created from thin air or are Buzzfeed just reporting from the social/user-generated content angle?

shortformblog:

BuzzFeed knows how to create traffic from thin air. (Related: This Chicago teachers’ strike deal is actually a pretty serious story, kids.)

Is it really created from thin air or are Buzzfeed just reporting from the social/user-generated content angle?

BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith on Cats and Scoops

Digiday interviews Ben Smith, former Politico star and newly appointed Buzzfeed editor-in-chief. Read the entire interview at Digiday.

What is a social news organization, and how does it differ from how other news organizations function? You can’t assume that people are going to come to your site and explore all of your verticals. You need to be comprehensive. We are trying to create things that will be new to people. We don’t need to do other versions of other stories that are out there. We try to keep it original. We’re not going to waste our time rewriting or reporting big stuff that is covered everywhere else. I think those are the waters that most reporters are swimming in now — everyone wants to be writing original content. It’s hard to get the new reporters to adjust to putting out 10 original cat photos everyday though. You know I’m joking, right?

What does it mean to write for the social Web, and how can publishers compete when there is so much noise on social channels like Twitter? It’s a couple of different things. All of the parts of the social Web are very different. For Twitter you want scoops and new stuff. But in general it’s about producing stuff that people want to share. And really there is no secret formula to that. Jonah has been experimenting and playing around with this for years, so he knows better than anyone. Then there are certain things that are search-driven, too, like something like a “Britney Spears Naked” story that someone might search but wouldn’t want to post to their Facebook. It’s not a zero-sum game. Publishers can do well by producing great stuff. But that doesn’t mean you are going to dominate everyone.