Eric Schwartzman interviews Politico editor Jim VandeHei on Politico and his views social media. As always, Eric is an able interviewer who asks smart, well-researched questions. The result is a good “brain-picking” of VendeHei on the “future of grassroots diplomacy, the growth of emerging communications channels like social and mobile for news consumption,” in particularly how “Politico amalgamates the old media values of fairness and accuracy with the speed and immediacy of new technologies.”
Listen to the interview at On the Record Online. Eric provide a helpful timeline of the interview (copied below). Just before the 17 minute mark in the interview, just after the commercial, is a question the Broadcasting Board of Governors will have to wrestle with as they necessarily open to social media: who to do deal with vitriolic comments.
Also, Eric asked VandeHei a question from Don Kilburg, a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Dept. of State, on the hijack of the agendas of global media, online and offline, and global leaders by an individual who previously had an audience of at most fifty.
01:56 — Politico’s editorial personality, and how they carved out a niche in a category previously dominated by entrenched incumbents.
03:57 — Politico’s content is distributed via print, website, social networks, RSS feeds, widgets and smart phone apps, and Jim discusses his growth expectation for digital distribution.
05:50 — Joe DeMattoes, CEO of the Health Facilities Association of Maryland asks, “Getting to Politico and your core business, define the role of social media in your publication and business model?”
07:55 — With Nearly 100,000 Twitter followers, Politico reaches double the number of followers of Roll Call and Congressional Quarterly. Jim responds to David G. Bradley’s quote in David Carr’s column media equation, which read, “I think that Politico’s entrance entirely changed what had been a pretty cozy market with a few incumbents — National Journal, CQ and Roll Call — and kudos to them for demonstrating there was a market beyond the Beltway.” A discussion of what Politico is doing differently to resonate with audiences beyond the Beltway.
10:10 — How Politico amalgamates the old media values of fairness and accuracy with the speed and immediacy of new technologies.
12:00 – Don Kilburg, Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Dept. of State asks, “In this era of instant communication and grassroots diplomacy, we recently observed someone previously unknown hijack the national discourse by threatening to burn a Koran. We then observed high ranking public officials comment directly on this, including the President. Do you think we’ll see more of this sort of grassroots diplomacy hijacking and where should high ranking officials and media editors draw the line in potentially adding fuel to the fire by covering it?”
14:10 — A discussion of the media’s responsibility with respect to Wikileaks, and whether or not the government should be able to abdicate the public’s right to know in the interest of "national security.”
16:43 — Jim responds to Howard Kurtz’s column about Politico blogger Ben Smith’s ability to draw vitriolic criticism with middle-of-the-road content and whether or not there’s anything that can be done to encourage greater tolerance for different points of view on the blogosphere.
21:30 — At first, democrats were significantly better at using social media to their advantage, but we’re starting to see republicans do a much better job. Resonating with an audience is all about understanding what they need and giving it to them.
24:50 — How to get an editorial board meeting with Politico and how to pitch news to reporters in the Politico newsroom.
28:16 — End
- The BBG’s Honeymoon: All Work and No Play
- Retooling in Response to Politico by David Carr at The New York Times (12 September 2010)
- Selling Social Media Strategy to Leadership with Charlene Li, an interview by Eric Scwartzman (14 September 2010)