Saturday, February 16, 2013

Recent Media Items

The New York Times profiles Ben Smith, editor in chief of Buzzfeed:
Mr. Smith, 36, has long had a reputation for doing things his own way. Before Buzzfeed, he was known for pulling city politics into the digital era with The Politicker, a blog he started for The Observer in 2004. While other print reporters were waiting for deadlines to share the news, Mr. Smith had the then-novel idea of publishing what he knew on the Web and letting readers leave comments, producing a lively and often indecorous forum that transfixed Gotham’s power brokers.

“It’s not just that he did it first, he did it well,” Mr. Benson said.

It’s that forward-thinking mentality that helps add some clarity to the Smith-Buzzfeed marriage. Buzzfeed, which was started in 2006 by Jonah Peretti, a founder of The Huffington Post, operates on the philosophy that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are America’s new front pages and that the content people view online is determined more by what their friends share than what is found on the home page of a news organization. As such, the distinction between Web ephemera like baby videos and traditional journalism has all but disappeared.

Mr. Smith, who was born and raised on the Upper West Side, appears to fit right in so far. He has brought political reporting to Buzzfeed without betraying its signature attitude. The site’s year-end roundup of political stories was titled “The 15 most OMG Buzzfeed Politics Stories of 2012,” and its most popular political post of the year was “A User’s Guide to Smoking Pot with Barack Obama.”
BTW, you might want to bookmark Buzzfeed's Politics page.

At Politico's Playbook, Mike Allen offers a telling example of how the media's conveyor belt has changed.  Once upon a time, The Times would cover a story and other organizations would follow.  It does not always work that way anymore...
NO SHAME AWARD to N.Y. Times for putting on the front page -- with no indication it wasn’t a novel revelation -- a carbon copy of a story that led on Thursday evening, was on the front page of Friday’s print edition, and was a segment on “Morning Joe”:
--POLITICO’s Manu Raju, “Ted Cruz comes out swinging”: “upending the Senate’s conventional ways, in which freshmen typically work quietly to build bridges with their colleagues … Another GOP senator reported that fellow Republicans were already getting ‘annoyed’ by Cruz’s antics. … ‘I made promises to the people of Texas that I would come to Washington to shake up the status quo,’ … Cruz wrote in an email.”
--NYT’s Jonathan Weisman, “Texas Senator Goes on Attack And Raises Bipartisan Hackles”: “made his presence felt in an institution where new arrivals are usually not heard from for months, if not years. … raised the hackles of colleagues from both parties. … ‘I made promises to the people of Texas that I would come to Washington to shake up the status quo,’ he said in e-mailed answers to questions.”
--PLAYBOOK FACTS OF LIFE: Jonathan was working on his story at the same time as Manu, and it’s not like no one had heard of Ted Cruz before. But in the new information world, it doesn’t make sense to pretend you’re sole voice talking to your audience. And you can’t try to pass something off as new, when the people who care the most about the topic have read the same thing 24 hours earlier. You’re The New York Times: Be confident! Acknowledge the conversation around a topic you’re imbuing with your unique authority. A clever way to needle Cruz, and give readers a priceless insight into the Washington ecosystem, would have been to say “emailed in a statement that was identical to one he provided to Politico.”
And on Thursday, Jon Stewart had some comments on CNN's excessive coverage of The Poop Ship:

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