tv Washington This Week CSPAN November 30, 2013 6:00pm-6:31pm EST
journal is live every morning at 7:00 eastern on c-span. >> social media and journalism with ben smith, of buzz feed. he delivered the keynote address at the new york press club journalism conference at new york university. he took questions from the audience. this is 30 minutes. [applause] >> i should switch to my presentation. give me one second. this event confirmed everything then i knewe up, about it. and theedible warmth, fact that radio people run the place. [laughter]
i started, to past presidents of this. they were among the generous people who welcomed me for my up secure and new right wing bill. it is nice to be here, and an honor to be on stage. i've the others who were just honored. slideshowe end of the . give me one second here. all right. webtopic of this is social good for jonah was him -- his
social web good for journalism? i do not know how it got into my bio. by the social web, what i mean basically this isn't the future, but the present. one people open their computers or their phones, the application may open, they do not go to your website. they go to twitter or facebook. the challenge is how do you get into that stream? reporting,make the the kind of entertainment that people want to share and will on whatever the next platforms are. i guess i wanted to start with i notice theth how
social web had replaced the old- .ashioned blog a sphere happened in 2008 when i was writing for politico. there were probably a dozen political blogs in that election. they were where the central conversation happen. it was fun to write one of them. it was very immediate that you word doing what we got to do. rectally writing for readers. if i stepped away people would ask if i was dead. it had very direct relationships with hundreds of readers whose names i knew, who would e-mail me tips. you got tips in this immediate way. a people thought they were in conversation with you and forward you documents their boss told him not to share. it was a fun way to do reporting.
after 2000 and eight, i the blogs had their flaws. if you are fighting with someone this was no good way -- was what you did. argue with other bloggers. i would have to e-mail him, i just attacked you. here is a link. i hope you will link me before you attack me back. this is not the most efficient thing in the world. it was weird. as this service called twitter grow up in politics, it had a much efficient way to do that. you tag someone, and they know you have gone after them. for that reason and others, you could feel the centralize conversation. what happened between the boys on the minus -- boys and the bus. it comes to happen on these blogs.
it moves in the public on twitter. mistake of mentioning this to reporter at some point in what was supposed to be a puppy profile of politico. it turned at how twitter was going to destroy us. that was very much my sense as reporter. when i had a scoop, what i would do was to weed it and see if people were sharing it. scoops are one of the basic things people want to share. you want to tell your friends about it. my newssumer, getting from twitter, and as a reporter, it was clear that this social web was the place where journalism was. politics is often the early adapter. politicians are running media
organizations. they are obsessed with their image. they lived through the media. a 10 to be on the front edge of these things. that consumed political started to consume politics. it's not just that people are commenting on politics, so much is commenting and making statements and engaging. the 2012 campaign it was the central space in which the action of politics was actually happening. you saw. gif in not include a this presentation. attackinge operative each other. heart of my the reporter, rosie gray. she tweeted.
politicians have fully joined the conversation. there are communications professionals. barbara mikulski picks up her blackberry looks at it and then starts yelling at rosie from the dais. my heart almost stops re- watching it. of the extent to which the conversation has become the central political conversation. love it or hate it. basicgument that they kinds of things people want to share, news travels on twitter. -- the kindher time of things that people like to share. they are basically the kinds of
things that most of us got into the business to do. get smartops, to analysis. the things you do not see people sharing our here is an aggregate version of a story someone broke two hours ago. that is what search engines dominated when everyone was trying to do. a lot of what we have been investing in, and what we find greatcessful is hiring reporters to go out and get stories and take things that are not yet on the internet and put them on the internet essentially, of which these are some examples. it is true. these are great for be reporters. these of vertical eyes conversations among experts and players. whether it is the scoop about how a tv show fell apart or about a big corporation, there is a built-in conversation where you have smart people, players and the stories diving in
commenting, calling you out if you are wrong. these are fun stuff. it is really satisfying stuff. posted what people want to become reporters. we have been along those lines to expand in different directions. to some of these things, there are the areas that news organizations came up covering. there are other categories that are rooted in the web and what people share. nostalgia is big. the latest thing we are excited -- foreignher norms correspondence. we have people in russia, a couple in the middle east. if you follow that corner of twitter, a conversation around the latest on syria. f what you've got is a
, alive original reporting from the region, something that is faster and better than anybody else, that is what people are going to share and what is going to travel. the other thing that lives on ae social web, it has become challenging and complicated saying. breaking news. anyone who's worked in a newsroom is that it is a total disaster when there is a big story. you are sending reporters to the wrong guys house. you have theories you would never want anybody to know in public. those in broadcast know that until it is written down on twitter, in the early hours of any catastrophe, anchors were saying stuff that turned out to be wrong. sourceses from the best
. law enforcement sources in the early hours of the catastrophe are often confused and getting bad information. faith a sourced that turns out to be wrong. these breaking news events are always a mess. there is a cnn reporter who on 9/11 was telling me this story. bang.rd downtown a he looked outside and saw had been a truck passing. one of the foundational things now of the conspiracy theories is this third explosion and cnn covered up. what is now changed is that happens in public. every crazy ferrying -- every crazy theory.
every inconclusive fact is now out there on twitter. your readers are swimming in the sea of this stuff. then there is this choice of would you try and the additional way to keep your hands clean and not engage things you're not sure true, which is the appropriate traditional approach. you do not want to be floating harebrained theories to your readers. if they are swimming in these informational waters, as are our -- as ours our, they learn there or miley cyrus has done something crazy, and they come to a website to find out what is going on and navigate us. we certainly with the boston mobbing, we solve the surge in traffic from people coming from twitter trying to understand what was going on. yet the find the responsible way
to navigate all the information, to say what is true. here is what is false. they have heard the false stories. there is no way to protect him from them. one of the widest share things is debunking. here is something people are sharing. here is what we know about it. here is a reason to believe it is true, false. it is a tricky thing to navigate. an interesting and challenging one. we are proud of our coverage of the boston bombing. .articularly of this tweet that was in part because of our for loss flee that you have to find a way to engage information in chaos situations. then, what i have been talking about is the way new spreads on twitter. the core social platform for
news. the biggest social platform, the source o that has overtaken google. facebook. news spreads on google, the emotional stuff spreads on facebook. compelling, inspiring stories. these are a couple of examples. think our view is that a lot of the things that reporters have done a boys wanted to do are included in the things that do really well. inh more so than did well earlier iterations of the web. the often misleading headlines,
or in search engines which are , but for and diet pills aren't social places where you are sharing things that you are proud to share. this was a particularly interesting moment for me. this was this her rent this moment on fox news. it was laster where a guy was in a car chase, and he shot himself. they didn't catch on the delay. view, people are talking about something, we will show you the whole video. we will not edit it and give people the choice. i realize that is a difficult call. the reporter who did it took a lot of shit for it.
it was just really interesting to see that the store they got more readers was the deep dive into the narrative rather than the quickly reported hit. there is a space for different kinds of journalism that are the reasons you get into this business on this new social web. i think that is all i've got. questions, i would love to. should people come to the microphone? hi, steve. think ther if you definition of journalism has changed or evolved in the last
25 years, or from a previous generation? i hate to admit it, i was not around 25 years ago doing this. took a badnalism detour for several years away been arewrite has always part of journalism. if you look at ap or the tabs, that is always a core thing. not me be the most satisfying. there was a secession with search engines. the way to succeed was to hand it over to the techies. it would promote your content even if it wasn't good. that is still true for search engines. they're less important as social platforms rise.
nobody's going to share something they were tricked into reading. basically this new ecosystem more. things that are >> i wonder how you are able to do that with your model. >> i think a lot of smart asorters see the business leaping from melting ice flow to melting ice flow. i think there is a lot less. i do not -- i think for a lot of reporters in their 20s, it is hard to see the career path. it is not a secure as it might about 20 years ago. if people are interested in taking risks. reporters, all their friends read it. economically, we pay them in bit
bitcoin. no, we sell ads. our theory about ads is that you can tell the ads on a website because they are terrible and annoying. the flash across the screen. readers hate that. brands don't want to be in the business of jamming things and your face that you hate them for. what people will pay for that keeps falling every year. we are on a different model. our ads are of the form of our content. they are fun lists. tradition that the preferable advertising tradition, women's magazines, if you cut the ads out of vogue, fewer people would buy it. they are gorgeously produced,
shot by major photographers. readers and not confused. ads of the super bowl, fewer people would watch it. content, whoored is writing that for you? >> we have an in-house creative team. >> is there enough differentiation? betweentell a different an article in vogue and add. you think that is true? >> we are changing all the time. there is a yellow overlay on all the sponsored content. part of it is people recognize that because they are used at google. if there is a black line around it, it is probably an editorial. clear.to make it we are always tweaking it.
the brands want stuff to be clearly branded. >> what you think is the next big thing after facebook, twitter? what are they not doing that could be developed? >> i don't know. that is the billion dollar idea. certainly there are other social apps that are popular among particularly people like 12-18- year-olds. peer, snapchats. you are just talking directly to your circle of friends. particular are incredibly popular. know, beingious to
the facebook and twitter going , you think they will sustain it? there is obviously a ton of pressure on them to figure out advertising. i think you will start seeing more ads in your twitter feed. is, sometimestion there are innovations that come and go. sometimes there are ones like radio waves become the basic pipelines for content. they become the plumbing. it feels like facebook and twitter are now basically the plumbing. all sorts of things can travel through them. the platforms will survive. theypeople thought that about myspace. you wrote in april after
there was a mess up following the boston bombings, about how the media has in the responsibility in reporting breaking news. you said there is a shift from the media having the responsibility of betting in sharing information, to having one of guiding an audience that has been exposed to more. can you talk about that? basically, if you work from the -- if there is an allegation you're not sure of, that the shooter or the woman who crashed her car was mentally ill, it likelyo me that it is so that your reader will have seen that somewhere on the web that it makes sense for you to say here is a claim people are making. there is not much evidence for it. as opposed to just ignoring it
because -- it makes sense to engage things that are true or you are not sure of in a way that it makes sense of. the obama campaign in 2007 have the notion that there is this weird allegation abroad that he is secretly a muslim. this is an insane thing if he talks about it he will elevate it. this is the traditional political strategy. don't engage crazy stuff that gets more people to hear it. at some point, they just realized through e-mail forwards, and facebook, everybody had heard this thing. and denyto engage it it frontally. that is a change in the way information travels. >> i'm curious about the role of traditional media in doing that. you talk about how large organizations will tweet something right away and now
days they have to bet that. is this a new job? reflectsk there are his around standards. particularly tv networks. you do not touch something and yes -- unless you confirmed it yourself. why go spreading questionable information to them when you should assume that your viewers probably have seen it on facebook. it makes sense to engage it. i do not think there is a silver bullet or anything. over here. regardingtion is traffic. i understand that a lot of departmentse analyzing traffic and knowing what people are reading.
my first question to you is do , whatink that people people are writing online and read,eople are wanting to do those sink together? does everything that people read , is that what we should be writing? in your experience as the editor-in-chief, other sections that you have to kill because people were reading it? >> i've never really seen a ton of point in writing these people did read. the word traffic content is mechanical. it is just readers. if you can't attract readers to the thing you are writing, you're probably doing something wrong. there are more people interested in reading about marilyn monroe then bobby kennedy.
there is always going to be a larger audience for some things than others. a good story will always, even if it is relatively narrow getow audience, will always some traffic. you should have a sense of what is the possible universe of readers for this. an advancedy about in the law about transgender rights. you better aim to hit the mall with that story. everybody who might possibly read it, reads it. that is our approach. >> with your background as a i'm curiousporter,
about your plans for covering the upcoming congressional election and beyond that. break ank we want to lot of news and tell entertaining stories. -- and to do if you're covering the campaign. just publishing things on twitter and then writing a story is going to absorb more and more of the small incremental stuff. which is great. it is a waste of time to write the stories. you feel you are stretching to fill out 400 words. i think we want to break news .nd do deep reporting those are the things. and we want to do fun entertaining stuff about these
guys prayed politics has always been a bow -- about policy and power, and personality. that is what they want to talk about. it has all but will went up together. we aim to do all of that. that is all of god. thank you guys for having me. thank you for putting this together. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> and tom standage has a new book out. it is called "writing on the wall: social media the first 2,000 years." what do cicero and twitter have in common? >> the idea is that social media is an old idea.
what i'm arguing is that there is a long and rich tradition of social media that goes back to the era of cicero, the fifth century bc. if you have one, goes faster. you can actually do it in the old days. cicero did it with papyrus scrolls. others were linked to him, and spoke to each other in a social environment. other examples occur throughout history. .artin luther use the pamphlets poetry in the court of and berlin. tom payne and his pamphlet of common sense. there are many examples. i'm arguing that when we use social media today, it is a reversion to what media operated like centuries before us.