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.


Glenn Beck doesn't care if he alienates Trump voters (Live at SXSW)  

Former Fox News commentator and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about being a conservative media personality at a time when a Republican he hates, Donald Trump, is president. Speaking in front of a live audience at South by Southwest 2017, Beck says he doesn't care if Trump supporters no longer listen to him, because "right is right, wrong is wrong." He also weighs in on how Breitbart became a "platform for the alt-right" under Steve Bannon after the passing of its founder, Andrew Breitbart, and says that politicians need to put aside party labels to talk about big issues — such as how the rise of robots and artificial intelligence could lead to "50 percent unemployment" in the next 40 years.

The Huffington Post wants to reach Trump voters (Lydia Polgreen, editor in chief, The Huffington Post)  

The Huffington Post's new editor in chief, Lydia Polgreen, talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about turning the liberal news site founded by Arianna Huffington 11 years ago into a destination for a larger audience — including some of Donald Trump's supporters. Polgreen, who spent 15 years at The New York Times before joining HuffPost late last year, said she wants to help liberals, conservatives and everyone in between see how much they have in common. She also talks about why she left the NYT, the gaps between "have and have-not" media consumers, and how she reacted when HuffPost was barred from a White House press briefing.

'Why is this on Mashable?' asks Executive Editor Jessica Coen  

Mashable Executive Editor Jessica Coen talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about taking the reins of the 12-year-old site last year and how she's working to focus its writers on the stories it can do best. Coen previously spent two years editing and five in charge of Jezebel, Gawker Media's feminist site. She chats about bringing a bit of the Gawker voice to Mashable's writing, where the site is investing the most (video and Snapchat) and her advice for young journalists trying to break into the media business. Coen also discusses the most dramatic moment of her tenure at Gawker: The publication of a sex tape starring Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst.

Making a superhero movie for adults (Scott Frank, screenwriter, 'Logan')  

Screenwriter and novelist Scott Frank talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about writing a superhero movie for people who don't like superhero movies: "Logan," an R-rated sendoff for Wolverine, Hugh Jackman's iconic "X-Men" character. Frank explains how he lucked his way into a job at Paramount at age 24 and what he learned from writing films like "Get Shorty," "Malice" and "Out of Sight." He also discusses his next project after "Logan" — a western miniseries for Netflix called "Godless" — and why, after a long career in Hollywood, he decided last year to write his first novel, "Shaker."

The New York Times wants to become like Netflix (Gabriel Snyder, journalist)  

Wired contributor Gabriel Snyder talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his recent cover story for Wired magazine, "The New York Times Claws Its Way Into the Future." Snyder profiled how the storied newspaper is trying to adapt to the fast-failure-friendly M.O. of a tech company and says it's now betting on one big Netflix-like digital subscription, rather than the multiple smaller subscription products it previously attempted. He also explains why it's so difficult for new ideas to make it up the chain of command inside the NYT and why so many young digital stars have left the company.

Here’s the secret to making things popular (Derek Thompson, author, ‘Hit Makers’)  

Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic and author of "Hit Makers," talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about his new book, which explores the "Science of Popularity in the Age of Distraction." Thompson says contrary to conventional wisdom, content is not as important as how you distribute it, and things don't "go viral" the way an actual virus does — instead, they benefit the most from existing social networks and distribution channels that preceded them. He also says ESPN, which is struggling to make as much money from TV as it used to, needs to re-orient its strategy around the smartphone lock screen, rather than the television screen.

Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget says Trump is pushing 'anti-American' policies  

Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about why he sold the company to German publisher Axel Springer and why BI is moving toward paid newspaper-like subscriptions. Blodget says digital media is "as different from print and TV as they are from each other" and explains why cloning a newspaper for the web will never work. He also talks about why he took Donald Trump seriously from day one and says that despite a smart campaign, the new president is now advocating "un-American and anti-American" policies.

The future of advertising is 'fewer, better ads' (Ian Schafer, CEO, Deep Focus)  

Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer talks with Recode's Peter Kafka about why the digital advertising world is due for a shake-up. Schafer says he's skeptical of the branded content studios being created inside big media companies because he doubts they can compete with Google and Facebook for the same business. He argues that the online ad economy has grown too big and the future must entail "fewer, better ads" that may be more individualized to consumers and placed on new, unconventional platforms.

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.

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