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Posts Tagged ‘Jonah Peretti’

BuzzFeed Signs Facebook Vet as PR Chief

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This week, Capital New York broke the news that BuzzFeed had named Facebook vet Liz Wasden as its new head of PR. She replaces Ashley McCollum, who was promoted in October to the position of chief of staff/personal advisor to founder and publisher Jonah Peretti.

Wasden brings more than 15 years of comms experience to the new role. She formerly worked within the CBS organization and served as communications director for Katie Couric, promoting both CBS News and Couric’s syndicated talk show Katie (which she helped launch along with executive producer/current CNN president Jeff Zucker). Prior to joining CBS, she held PR roles at such prominent media outlets as Forbes, Good Housekeeping and Money; the Savannah, Georgia native also spent time at Porter Novelli.

As our sister site AllFacebook reported, Wasden joined Zuckerberg’s team in early 2013, working on consumer communications for both Facebook and the still-new Instagram.

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BuzzFeed Promotes PR Lead to Chief of Staff/Advisory Role

Ashley McCollumWant to know what it’s like to work for BuzzFeed? Today, the media company promoted Ashley McCollum (follow her on Twitter) from head of PR to a chief staffing and “advisor to the executive team” role while also naming Dao Nguyen to the new position of “Publisher.” More specifically, McCollum’s official title changed from “VP, Communications and Business Development” to “Chief of Staff.” She will also serve as a personal advisor to founder/CEO Jonah Peretti.

Some quick facts about McCollum: she has spent nearly three years in comms role at BuzzFeed after working in NBC’s communications and marketing department; she is a Carolina girl who loves Charleston even more than we do but is not, as she clarified on Twitter this afternoon, a Gamecocks fan. (The Clemson/USC division runs in deep in Palmetto Country.)

We also got an update of sorts on the general BuzzFeed PR structure: Ashley still officially runs communications at the company, though they are currently looking for a senior executive to work with her and Peretti on the strategic front. Senior comms manager Christina DiRusso (follow her on Twitter, OBV) handles PR on the biz/tech side while Cat Bartosevich (follow her too) handles things for editorial.

All parties recommend that PRs continue pitching BuzzFeed writers directly with story ideas. Their contact info is easy to find.

The memo from Peretti, which went out this morning, after the jump.

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New School Media Lightly Disses Old School Media at Vanity Fair Event

Here’s a fun one: at today’s Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, three leaders of the “new school” media had some things to say about the old folks:

How wrong are Kara Swisher and Shane Smith, though? David Carr knows because he covers this sort of thing for a living.

BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti outlines the growth model in the accompanying post: start with the kitty pic-sticles, move into producing real-world journalism, and get bought by the old guys waving around their legacy money.

Swisher attributes this shift to the newfound power of the Wi-Fi enabled consumer who, as Peretti noted, would just as soon spend an evening diving into the YouTube rabbit hole as checking out a “piece of highly produced media behind a paywall.”

Hard to imagine a starker portrait of the old school asking the new school what the kids are watching. The meta McConaughey pre-roll ad is just icing on the cake.

THR ‘Most Powerful’ List Reflects New Media’s Influence

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The Hollywood Reporter just released its annual “most powerful people in New York media” list, and the most surprising thing about it is how unsurprising the new listings are.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg provides the story’s lede–and while the piece mentions the expansion of Bloomberg TV and Businessweek, everyone knows that it’s still all about those terminals.

The big news, though, is the addition of the names you’ve come to know from the digital side.

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Content Forecast: Partly Sunny Skies, Some Clouds and Fog, High Revenue Pressure Front

AMC 2013 Logo FinalAs the lines around content continue to blur, the media industry assessment and outlook has been mixed. The AM2C / American Magazine Media Conference in New York this week convened a wide range of media, ad and tech industry leaders. They offered an array of diverse and sometimes controversial perspectives, and below are selected excerpts. Much like the classic Farmers Almanac, only time will tell how it all plays out.

Content quality: (Jonah Peretti, co-founder and CEO, BuzzFeed)

“It’s dangerous to only follow the optimization numbers. You need the creativity to experiment with lots of different content types. There’s a broad purview of topic areas we cover, from entertainment to investigative reporting. We create content that people are proud to share.”

“If you only create salacious garbage, then you end up with 90 percent of people that won’t want to read your site and won’t want to return.”

Discovering unique content: (Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, Google)

“In the media industry everyone is at the same confabs reporting the same things. The challenge is to report things that no one else has found.”

“Editorial content tells me things I wouldn’t have otherwise discovered. Google can program 90 percent of serendipity regarding what you’re reading and who your friends are, so we can suggest other interesting items. The other ten percent is one-offs, and there you need gifted editors.”

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BuzzFeed Has This ‘Sponsored Content’ Thing Down

The biggest “must read” story making its way around the web this week is New York Magazine’s profile of BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti and his enviably successful approach to paid content.

To sum things up, Peretti, who also helped launch The Huffington Post, was a math student at MIT who grew fascinated with the concept of viral memes and later created BuzzFeed as a tool to identify and facilitate the spread of said memes via algorithm. His goal was to truly capture the magic behind “word of mouth” buzz (the cat GIFs and political reporting came later). Most of the Internet and quite a few of the biggest brands in the world agree that Peretti has uncovered a secret formula for creating native advertising that might just go viral. Here are some revelations from the profile:

  • BuzzFeed editors work directly with marketing specialists from partner brands to create content in a “newsroom”-style environment.
  • The vast majority of traffic for both BuzzFeed originals and paid posts comes from social sharing.
  • The site’s most popular posts don’t go viral after a single big-name personality shares them — they’re simply picked up by several isolated individuals who share them in small groups (average nine Facebook friends) that spawn small “share” groups of their own.
  • There’s a science to this. Peretti has literally devised a formula.

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Who Let the Dogs In? Man’s Best Friend Gains Entree and Influence

Lately canines have been getting the attention and red carpet treatment they deserve. No longer stay-at-home dogs, they now accompany their owners to venues such as banks (right), hotels, ballparks, and even the alter. They have certainly earned their reward, since they play a role in many aspects of humans’ lives, including serving in the military, as seeing-eye dogs, companions and as conversation starters for singles.

Dog owners represent a sizable and devoted audience, and their spending has been relatively recession-proof. Thirty-nine percent of U.S. households own at least one dog, and if people with an affinity for dogs are included, that number is far higher.

Madison Avenue and Hollywood have long featured dogs based on their enormous popularity, and now other industries have followed suit. Here are ten examples of dogs’ increased exposure, ranging from media, entertainment and travel to sports and politics.

  • Madison Avenue often chooses dogs for its high profile ads, such as the Volkswagen spot called “The Bark Side” starring a canine chorus that aired during this year’s Super Bowl.
  • Hollywood celebrated Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who nearly stole the show at the Oscars this year based on his performance in The Artist.
  • Silicon Valley companies are known for allowing dogs on their campuses. DogPatch Labs is a startup incubator, and new site MatchPuppy.com find play dates for dogs and their owners.
  • In social media some dogs have a voice with their own Twitter accounts. Among YouTube’s most popular videos are those with canines (including nearly 17 million views for VW’s ad)
  • Jonah Peretti, founder of BuzzFeed, readily acknowledges that dog related content (especially beagles) generated much of his site’s traffic. (Huffington Post is better known for cat videos)
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BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti: ‘Our Reporters Are Doing the Kind of Work Reporters Love to Do’

In the first part of our three-part “Media Beat” interview with Jonah Peretti, the BuzzFeed founder discusses how his company is becoming a full-scale news organization following a flurry of recent hires and breaks down how social media drives news online.

“We have reporters who have beats and sources, and can do original work,” Peretti says, “the kind of work that reporters love to do, where they dig in on a story. They’re not just aggregating, they’re not summarizing what’s happening elsewhere, they’re creating something new and original.”

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