New York Times’ Ben Smith interview about his move from BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith is leaving for the New York Times for a lot of causes. One of them, in a semi-roundabout approach, is Donald Trump.
We can simply insert Trump into any dialog about something, however this one occurred organically throughout my chat with Smith this week on the Recode Media podcast. This was an exit interview: Smith is leaving BuzzFeed, the place he has been the highest editor for eight years. He’ll begin his new gig because the media columnist for the New York Times in March.
One of the Very Big Questions about Smith’s move, at the very least amongst chattering media individuals, is whether or not because of this digital upstarts like BuzzFeed and Vox Media, which had very massive ambitions just a few years in the past, have hit their ceiling.
It wasn’t shocking to listen to Smith say he doesn’t assume that’s true. It can be very shocking to listen to him say, out loud, that the place he ran for eight years simply isn’t large enough for his expertise. But it was attention-grabbing to listen to one among his arguments: That previous media shops just like the Times have had a particular resurgence due to Trump.
That’s a two-pronged thesis. Part of it’s that old-school media retailers with very, very substantial sources — the Times’s newsroom has some 1,600 journalists, which makes it the most important within the United States — and steady enterprise fashions — the Times has efficiently modified from an ad-supported operation to a customer-supported operation — have the capability to cowl the upheaval attributable to Trump’s election and sort out many different tasks on the identical time.
And the opposite bit is that Trump himself is an old-school media man. Yes, Trump makes use of Twitter to set agendas, settle scores, and threaten his enemies or potential enemies. But his media weight-reduction plan may be very analog: He hoovers up print newspapers and linear TV — which is why he tweets about the stuff in them on a regular basis.
Here’s the related excerpt from our dialog:
The pendulum swings on this enterprise, and I believe Donald Trump specifically elevated the New York Times and CNN in a approach that was actually transformational for them but additionally difficult. And additionally they are hiring a lot of individuals as a result of the subscription enterprise goes very well. … I believe that on this enterprise, issues are by no means over. It’s like politics. It’s a dynamic scenario. I believe during the last couple of years, in an enormous cultural sense, Trump swung the pendulum again towards legacy media as a result of that’s what he’s obsessive about.
Right. He’s a New York man who reads New York print newspapers.
And watches TV.
And massively elevated them. Where Obama had been sooner or later and occupied with digital media and had elevated digital media. And I believe that distinction is blurred between what’s digital and print. But I believe that in the end having a legacy enterprise continues to be an enormous, big drawback for anyone who’s printing. Anybody who’s broadcasting is placing plenty of their sources into sustaining a legacy enterprise.
You can take heed to our full dialog right here or under: