Re/code Media with Peter Kafka

Re/code Media with Peter Kafka

United States

Listen to the future of media, today. Re/code’s senior editor Peter Kafka talks to the most interesting people in media and technology, to find out what happens when those two things collide. Tune in for smart, thoughtful, BS-free interviews.


How the press can save itself in the age of Trump (Jay Rosen, professor, NYU)  

NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how the media, and the reporters who cover the White House in particular, should react to President Trump, who has frequently been hostile to their profession. Rosen says media organizations need to rethink their structures and individual journalists will have to establish a more transparent relationship with their audiences. He also talks about why journalists shouldn't interview Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway and what everyone can learn from Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold.

Fox's digital ad guy wants you to use an ad blocker (Joe Marchese, president of advanced advertising, Fox Networks Group)  

Fox Networks ad boss Joe Marchese talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about why he, an online advertising executive, encourages consumers to use ad blockers. Marchese argues that the relationship between advertisers and the public needs to be reset because people see ads as interruptive and advertisers are paying up for smaller and smaller slices of the pie. He also says all of Fox's ads on Hulu and its own websites should be skippable, and talks about the one time of the year when everyone wants to see advertising — the Super Bowl.

How to make $11 million by failing (James Altucher, founder, Choose Yourself Media)  

Choose Yourself Media founder James Altucher, an entrepreneur and author of several advice books, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the importance of learning from failure in life and business. Altucher twice went from being a multimillionaire to nearly broke, and currently does not own a home even though his company grossed $11 million last year. He says people should consider the alternatives to things like buying a house, going to college and reading the news, focusing instead on the things that will directly affect their lives.

Why is there no fake news on LinkedIn? (Daniel Roth, executive editor, LinkedIn)  

LinkedIn Executive Editor Daniel Roth talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about overseeing the editorial branch of the career-networking site. Roth says LinkedIn users police themselves in ways they don't on Facebook because they know their bosses and colleagues can see them. Hailing from the world of magazine and digital journalism, he also discusses his initially rough transition to working at a tech company and what happened when he wrote a 5,000-word cover story about Donald Trump for Fortune in 2004.

Kara Swisher: Journalists must be 'tougher on everybody'  

Recode co-founder and Executive Editor Kara Swisher talks with Peter Kafka about why the media needs to be tougher and more skeptical in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Swisher says journalists too often behave like "stenographers," lazily relaying what people say without interrogating their ideas. She also discusses the rise of fake news on platforms like Facebook, how she worked her way up from the mailroom at the Washington Post and why she and Recode co-founder Walt Mossberg sold the site to Vox Media in 2015.

Trump will blow up political journalism (Margaret Sullivan, columnist, the Washington Post)  

Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, formerly the public editor of the New York Times, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the effect of the incoming Trump administration on the world of political journalism. Sullivan says she initially thought, after Trump's win, that the media had completely failed, but has since moderated that position, and expects "a new kind of journalistic inquiry" will arise. She also discusses how she came to the New York Times, why she left the paper after three and a half years and why she still wants internet comments to have a place on media outlets' websites.

Making viral videos before YouTube (Burnie Burns, co-founder, Rooster Teeth)  

Rooster Teeth co-founder Burnie Burns talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how the early viral video hit "Red vs. Blue" evolved into a thriving media company. Burns says Rooster Teeth, which predated the launch of YouTube by several years, has succeeded because it goes deep and talks honestly with its young, geeky, video game-savvy fans. He also discusses how YouTube helped the company release its first feature film, "Lazer Team," and explains why he considers the 2014 harassment campaign Gamergate a prelude to Donald Trump's presidential win.

Did racism motivate Trump's voters? (Stephen Dubner, co-author, 'Freakonomics')  

Journalist and "Freakonomics" co-author Stephen Dubner talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how behavioral economics can explain Donald Trump's victory, arguing that racism and xenophobia are symptoms of a deeper-felt economic resentment. He also discusses widespread misunderstandings about probability and offers a partial defense of poll aggregators like FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver. Later in the show, Dubner explains how "Freakonomics" became a mini media empire, why he's now almost all-in on podcasting and how Bruce Springsteen convinced him to quit rock and roll.

Trump-related 'terror and hysteria' isn't justified (Ken Kurson, editor-in-chief, Observer)  

Observer editor-in-chief Ken Kurson talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about running the online newspaper published by Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Kurson says Kushner has no day-to-day influence on the Observer. He argues that reactions to his alleged ethical lapses — such as his sitting with the Trump family at the Republican National Convention — are overblown or misguided, and says Hillary Clinton's supporters are overreacting to their loss. Kurson also says some journalists and pollsters who mis-called the election should resign or be fired, and explains why staying off Twitter has been good for his psyche.

Musicians who fight Spotify are 'so f-cking dumb' (Bob Lefsetz, author, Lefsetz Letter)  

Bob Lefsetz, author of the influential music industry newsletter the Lefsetz Letter, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the winners and losers in the modern music business. Lefsetz says the traditional music label model was one of artificial scarcity, and there's no going back now that streaming services like YouTube and Spotify have arisen. He also argues that Netflix is doomed and VR is being mis-sold to the public. Later in the show, he reflects on the election of Donald Trump and why he's skeptical of the New York Times' ability to challenge the incoming U.S. president.

The 'Star Trek' reboot could have naked aliens (Jim Lanzone, CEO, CBS Interactive)  

Jim Lanzone, the CEO of CBS Interactive and chief digital officer of CBS, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the balance between free broadcast TV and paid online subscriptions. CBS has so far convinced more than a million people to pay $6 a month for its online service, CBS All Access. Lanzone says the company hopes to court even more subscribers with digital-only shows, including a spinoff of "The Good Wife" and a reboot of "Star Trek," which won't have to play by traditional FCC rules around nudity and swearing. He also makes the case for CBS' tech site CNET and discusses how he came to the company, via a digital TV guide site called Clicker.

You've outraged the internet? Here's how to apologize. (Bryan Goldberg, CEO, Bustle)  

Bustle CEO Bryan Goldberg talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about launching a site aimed at millennial women — and why having a man at the top made a lot of people wary. Goldberg bragged a bit too aggressively and had to spend several months explaining his words, but says "apologizing is great." He also talks about how Bustle rose to 40 million monthly pageviews, why it doesn't care as much about Facebook video views and why he'd rather hire young women out of journalism school than media stars who will bring attention to themselves.

How tech PR works (Brooke Hammerling, founder, Brew Media)  

Brew Media founder Brooke Hammerling talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how she created a PR firm for some of the biggest names in tech and why she sold it to Sigmund Freud's great-grandson. Hammerling has no plans to leave Brew, however. She says she prefers to work with clients who don't think of her company as hired help, but rather as part of the team. She recounts her experience being verbally attacked by a prominent male tech blogger, but says sexism today is even worse in Hollywood than it is in Silicon Valley.

Smosh and ScreenJunkies boss Keith Richman: We're looking into TV  

Defy Media President Keith Richman, who oversees popular YouTube channels Smosh, ScreenJunkies, Clevver and others, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how Janet Jackson's breast-baring "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2004 Super Bowl inspired him to get into web video. Richman says Defy's ability to hop on video platforms early and figure out what makes them tick has helped the company reach 70 million YouTube subscribers who watch 800 million videos per month. But the ad dollars are still better on TV, so Defy is thinking about how its shows might work there, too.

BuzzFeed's video boss Ze Frank on going viral at scale  

BuzzFeed Entertainment Group president Ze Frank talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about how his newly re-organized video team is developing shows for YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat — and also TVs and movie theaters. Frank says online videos are crossing borders and boundaries that text and still images couldn't penetrate, but he acknowledges that some bits of culture may be lost as entertainment goes global. He also shares the behind-the-scenes story of Tasty, BuzzFeed Food's viral video juggernaut, which has attracted more likes on Facebook than Beyoncé.

Ex-Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau: I'm afraid of a 'smarter Trump'  

Jon Favreau, former speechwriter for President Obama and the host of The Ringer's podcast "Keepin' It 1600," talks to Recode's Peter Kafka about how he got to the White House and why he can never totally quit politics. He predicts Hillary Clinton will win the presidency on Nov. 8 but explains why her speaking style is so much less conversational than Obama's. Favreau expects that Donald Trump will launch a new TV venture for his followers after the election, and says he supports the GOP's "never-Trumpers" because he fears that a smarter version of Trump will run in future campaigns.

Donald Trump is still a 'short-fingered vulgarian' (Kurt Andersen, co-founder, Spy)  

Kurt Andersen, co-founder of Spy magazine and host of WNYC and PRI's Studio 360, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about branding Donald Trump a "short-fingered vulgarian in the 1980s and how Trump has changed (or not) since then. Andersen says the real estate mogul flirted with running for president as early as 1987, but that over time, the fantasy became more and more real. He also discusses the organizations Spy influenced — including Gawker and "Last Week Tonight" — and why he now likens podcasting to the rise of public radio 40 years ago.

Behind the scenes of 'Vice News Tonight' (Josh Tyrangiel, executive vice president, Vice)  

Josh Tyrangiel, executive vice president for content and news at Vice, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the company's new weeknightly TV show, "Vice News Tonight" on HBO. To distance itself from traditional newscasts run for decades by the likes of CBS, ABC and NBC, Vice is doing away with a central news desk and news anchor, focusing instead on finding visual ways to tell stories that may get short shrift elsewhere. The big goal: Get millennials watching, which Tyrangiel says can be done so long as "Vice News Tonight" adds value to young people's lives.

Keith Olbermann: Don’t blame Donald Trump on the media  

"The Closer" host and former ESPN and MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about the 2016 presidential race and the rise of Donald Trump. Olbermann says Trump is not a totally new phenomenon, noting that political demagogues like Huey Long and Joe McCarthy lived before the era of cable TV. He also discusses his past jobs in cable news, the Netflix-influenced future of media and how he cured his addiction to arguing with Twitter trolls.

"Call Your Girlfriend" co-host Aminatou Sow on how to make a hit podcast  

Aminatou Sow, who co-hosts "Call Your Girlfriend" with Ann Friedman, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about why she started podcasting: A man said that "women don’t make podcasts." Sow explains how she and Friedman leveraged their network of media influencers, including "Girls" star Lena Dunham, to climb the iTunes charts, acknowledging that "we kind of cheated." She also discusses why she's through with San Francisco, the future of "Call Your Girlfriend" beyond podcasting and why she enjoys the fact that Snapchat makes her feel old.

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