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yesterday by wotek
Video is disrupting B2B content platforms, and the bots are next, says ViewLift - by @jonerp
"Content platforms are changing fast. ViewLift's CTO tells me about why video is surging, and how partner Incedo keeps them on top of Alexa - and the AI bots to come."
analytics  planning  and  data  analysis  content  marketing  digital  user  experience  media 
yesterday by jonerp
How Mic.com exploited social justice for clicks, and then abandoned a staff that believed in it
The site had an unfiltered voice that spoke on behalf of marginalized individuals. Breitbart called it “SJW Central.” “I think a lot of people in today’s day and age want to know, ‘What are we supposed to be outraged about?’” a former Mic staffer who left the site earlier this year told The Outline. “It seemed as if we were trying to position ourselves as, ‘We are the definition of woke, and this is how you break down this narrative or fight the mainstream.’”

But after laying off 25 staffers last week, Mic has a new mandate: pivoting to video. According to a memo that was sent to staff, the site’s new mission is “to make Mic the leader in visual journalism.”

In retrospect, it looks like Mic’s commitment to social justice was never that deep — which surprised and disappointed many of the young ideologues who went to work there. (The Outline spoke to 17 current and former staffers who requested anonymity due to nondisclosure agreements.) Mic chanced upon the social justice narrative, discovered it was Facebook gold, and mined away. Now the quarry is nearly dry.
Mic is far from the only website to hack social justice-themed outrage, although it was one of the earliest and most prominent.

The site started in 2010 as PolicyMic, an evenhanded, forgettable politics website where unpaid contributors posted commentary that could be upvoted by other site members. The PolicyMic origin story was that Chris Altchek, a Goldman Sachs banker who leaned conservative, was always debating his friend Jake Horowitz, a foreign policy columnist for Change.org who leaned liberal. The two had fierce debates about the issues of the day, and they wanted to convert that spirit into a website “to help our generation talk about the issues that really matter,” Horowitz told The New York Observer. The two met in jazz band at the New York prep school Horace Mann; they started the site when they were 23, each having raised $75,000. Altchek contributed his Goldman bonus.

In its early days, the site published left-leaning stories alongside right-leaning takes like, “Is There a Media Bias Against Ron Paul?” and “The One Chart That Shows Why Even Unions Are Abandoning Obamacare.” It also trafficked in standard content farm fare like “The 25 Greatest Things About Christmas.” The site also started to develop an inertia around a certain type of story: simple, emotional social justice narratives. The success of personal, identity-driven essays like “5 Powerful Reasons I'm a (Male) Feminist,” “An Open Letter to the Pope From a Gay Man,” and “An Open Letter to Abercrombie and Fitch from a Formerly Homeless Kid” inspired Mic to launch an “Identities” section in October 2013 “dedicated to examining the intersections of sexuality, gender, class and race in politics and culture for the millennial generation.” These stories got traction on Facebook, so Mic replicated them, attracting more social justice readers as well as more social justice writers, who then wrote more social justice stories. “Mic realized earlier than most places that they could commodify people’s feelings about race and gender," was the view of one early staffer who has since left.

By the fall of 2013, PolicyMic had grown considerably, publishing between 50 and 100 stories a day from its network of 2,500 writers supervised by a 20-person in-house editorial team. The site claimed to have nine million unique visitors a month, fueled by Facebook shares, and raised $3 million in venture capital funding. The next year, it reported 20 million unique visitors, raised another $10 million in venture capital funding, and rebranded as just “Mic.” A year later, it was up to 30 million unique visitors and raised another $17 million. According to former employees, more than 70 percent of the site’s traffic came from Facebook during this period.

This Facebook-driven success was no accident. Every time Mic had a hit, it would distill that success into a formula and then replicate it until it was dead. Successful “frameworks,” or headlines, that went through this process included “Science Proves TK,” “In One Perfect Tweet TK,” “TK Reveals the One Brutal Truth About TK,” and “TK Celebrity Just Said TK Thing About TK Issue. Here’s why that’s important.” At one point, according to an early staffer who has since left, news writers had to follow a formula with bolded sections, which ensured their stories didn’t leave readers with any questions: The intro. The problem. The context. The takeaway.

Mic’s unapologetic advocacy attracted a smart, driven staff, including feminist personality Elizabeth Plank, now at Vox; Darnell Moore, an activist and writer now at Cassius and Feminist Life; reporter Antonia Hylton, now at Vice News Tonight, and writer Zak Cheney Rice, who still works for the site. They and other members of the newsroom championed women’s reproductive rights, respect for people with disabilities, and equal treatment for the poor and people of color. Mic was one of the first outlets to recognize the rise of Bernie Sanders. It had boots on the ground during Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson. It tracks the murders of transgender people, a subject that has been largely overlooked by the mainstream press. In 2015, it landed a sit-down interview with Barack Obama.

In contrast to their staff, Horowitz and Altchek seemed to embrace the idea of being an activist website without really understanding the issues, based on anecdotes about their conduct internally.

“WE WERE RUN BY PEOPLE WHO DID NOT BELIEVE THE THINGS THAT THEIR STAFFERS WERE HIRED TO WRITE ABOUT AND THEIR STAFFERS TRULY BELIEVED IN.”
— A former Mic staffer who wrote about social justice issues

In some communications, Horowitz and Altchek emerged as tone-deaf to the diverse staff they had cultivated. In 2015, when a TV news reporter and a cameraman were fatally shot in Virginia during a live broadcast, Horowitz and Altchek ordered pizza for the office and sent an email to staff letting them know that they could take time off if they felt traumatized by the news. In response, a group of employees of color wrote an email pointing out the fact that the site frequently covered shootings of black people by police and those writers had never been offered pizza or a personal day.

The leadership was excited about elevating underrepresented communities, but employees said that Mic had become a content factory. The site had “no plan” for a Trump win on election night, multiple former employees told me, and improvised by pulling queer people and people of color out of the newsroom, putting them in front of a camera, and having them talk about how they felt. In another instance, a former staffer told me about how Horowitz, who served as editor in chief of the site until mid-2015 and is now editor at large, once interrupted a reporter pitching a video about a woman building rooftop gardens in New Orleans: “‘But, is she black? Is she black?’" the former staffer recalled Horowitz asking, “as if the story would be less impactful had the woman doing the work been white or Hispanic or Martian.” When the site was pushing into original comedy, Altchek told multiple staffers that he wanted to make “the next Chappelle Show, except it’s hosted by a trans woman of color.” Multiple former employees brought up the time Altchek introduced a video about the feminist #FreeTheNipple movement at a large staff gathering with a joke implying that the video still would have been excellent even if it hadn’t included boobs: “Titties aside,” he said, it was a great piece.

Altchek’s biggest misstep, however, was a get-out-the-vote effort called #69TheVote, which launched in late 2016. The conceit was that, while 69 million baby boomers and 69 million millennials are eligible to vote, only the former actually do so. “Boomers have always been on top,” the voiceover in the announcement video says. “Sometimes it seems like they're afraid to try new positions. But we're ready to go down on history” — a voice interrupts — “ahem, in history” — “oh right….” The video was widely disavowed by staff members and lambasted by The Washington Post, Gawker, Vice, and others.

“It was something that made the entire editorial staff sigh and put their head in their hands,” said one former staffer who covered social justice issues. “I remember one staffer who covered voting rights issues, who was like, ‘we are still writing today about the disenfranchisement of large swaths of Americans, and our site is making sex jokes about voting?’ To me, that just demonstrates the hypocrisy that was sort of layered throughout the organization. We were run by people who did not believe the things that their staffers were hired to write about and their staffers truly believed in.”


Furthermore, Mic’s fixation on traffic bothered reporters, who were sick of being forced into reductive headlines and catering to an echo chamber while being told they were changing the world. “It’s like they know the right things to tell their staff, but at a certain point it starts to feel like gaslighting in the office,” said the former staffer who covered social justice issues. “I didn’t just want to know what my path forward was, I didn’t just want a raise. I wanted someone to stop bullshitting me. To tell me I was selling out and I was just writing for clicks, that would be one thing. But there was this ethos of, ‘you are doing important work. You are making a difference,’ when I wasn’t.”

According to Crunchbase, which tracks venture capital investment, Mic has raised $59.5 million from investors in total. Mic was reportedly in acquisition talks with Twitter back in 2014 when the company had raised only $10 million. Twitter floated a price of $90 million, but Mic was not interested, according to Business Insider. If Mic could get a buyer to offer the same multiple of capital raised … [more]
Outrage  OutrageMemetics  Media  Journalism  db 
yesterday by walt74
Mic’s drop | The Outline
inspired Mic to launch an “Identities” section in October 2013 “dedicated to examining the intersections of sexuality, gender, class and race in politics and culture for the millennial generation.” ...Science Proves TK,” “In One Perfect Tweet TK,” “TK Reveals the One Brutal Truth About TK,” and “TK Celebrity Just Said TK Thing About TK Issue.
media  content  journalism  traffic  clickbait 
yesterday by jomc
The Real Threat to America Comes From Americans | Foreign Policy
The Real Threat to America Comes From Americans « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
politics  culture  history  media 
yesterday by philjr
Project Censored — The News that Didn't Make the News and Why
project out of Sonoma State - stories that don't get the coverage they should.
frequent partner with KPFA & democracy now
news  journalism  media  politics 
yesterday by tswaterman
Mastodon and Lolicon
Decentralized social media is used for cartoon child porn in Japan
japan  lolicon  pornography  media  socialmedia 
yesterday by nelson

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