Twitter #Music To Be Pulled From App Store Today, Will Shut Down Completely On April 18

Twitter just announced that it will be removing its #Music app from the App Store "later this afternoon." For those who have already downloaded it, the app will stop working on April 18. #Music's disappearance is no surprise. After a high-profile launch early last year, the app's popularity waned and by the fall it was regarded as a failure, with both AllThingsD and The New York Times reporting… Read More
TechCrunch » Social
Anthony Ha

How High-Impact Exercise Actually Strengthens Your Bones

We’ve known for a long time that the more impact we put on our bones the stronger they get. The New York Times points to a few studies that show just how much and how hard we need to jostle our bones to keep them healthy.
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Lifehacker Australia
Thorin Klosowski

Is this what the future of journalism looks like? Cute animal pictures, funning listicles, with a few quick news stories in between — oh, and some serious coverage.

That’s the exact recipe that took U.S. media startup Buzzfeed to success. The site attracts 140 million visitors per month, founder Jonah Peretti said.

Peretti is the brains behind the website and was also involved in the beginnings of the Huffington Post in 2005. A year later, he began working on the side on a viral experiment: Buzzfeed Labs, which began as little more than a collection of links to popular Internet content. When AOL bought Huffington Post in 2011, Peretti could finally start fully concentrating on Buzzfeed.

Within a few years, Peretti, who was recently named “the web’s king of viral content”, was able to build a media empire out of this experiment. Today, more than 400 people work for the website. In 2012, Peretti was even able to hire recognised political journalist Ben Smith, who took charge of building up Buzzfeed’s more serious journalism. Today, the journalist reports from crisis areas, while the investigative section is allowed months to research a story.

Buzzfeed now has new offices in London and Sydney to serve the British and Australian audiences, while French, Portuguese, and Spanish versions are already in the works. And, soon, a German Buzzfeed will be launched. A handful of journalists based in Berlin will be tasked with building a localized version, Peretti confirmed at the Online Marketing Rockstars conference in Hamburg last Friday. There, we caught up with him for an interview.

Where do you get your news from?

I get a lot of my news from Twitter and Facebook. Although they are only social platforms, not journalistic organisations, they’re great at connecting me to The New York Times, to The Atlantic, or to various tech publications.

But you don’t have a subscription to a physical newspaper anymore?

I don’t know. For a while, my wife used to get The New York Times. I’d take the sports and business section with me and read it on the way to work. Now I read on my phone.

Let’s say you lived a few decades earlier, in the age of print. Then you wouldn’t have founded Buzzfeed, but would’ve done what? Something like Time magazine, for example?

The interesting thing is that Time started out as a clipping service. At the time, there weren’t any journalists there, they just subscribed to a bunch of newspapers and synthesized them into short articles. It was only later that Time began to hire its own reporters and correspondents until it eventually had foreign bureaus all over the place and a whole lot of serious reporting. And now the magazine is struggling as things transition to digital. But the point is: it has evolved over the decades. People forget that even Time magazine started as a modest operation.

You can see the parallels to Buzzfeed.

When Buzzfeed first started, we summarized trends on the web: this and that is happening at the moment. We didn’t have a team; we’d publish four things a day. Now, we publish 400 things a day. We have an investigative journalism team and correspondents reporting from Syria, Kiev, and Nairobi.

We were able to expand because the model worked for our readers — because they love the brand, the site, and the work we’re doing. You see that happening throughout the media industry: MTV started with music videos. Because people were turning the channels, they put these cartoon characters between the videos: Beavis and Butthead, introducing the videos and making fun of the videos. The viewers liked watching this, so a whole show was made with those characters. And then they started to do fewer music videos and eventually they had almost all original programming.

You see, people judge companies by the moment they’re looking at it. But if you’re part of a company like Buzzfeed or MTV or Time, then you see it more as a trajectory or evolution.

That means the Buzzfeed of today is not at the end of its development?

We are continually evolving. A year ago, we didn’t have video operations. Now, we have 100 million video views per month. We didn’t have foreign correspondents, or an investigative journalism team. In the course of a year, our traffic has grown from 40 million unique visitors to over 140 million.

We constantly ask ourselves, “What can we do now that we’ve reached the next level?” We can now attract different types of talent. We can build certain kinds of tech. We can use data in new ways. We can offer new ad products.

When you’re a very small company and decide to start doing foreign reports, then it’s either arrogant or stupid or both. But when you’re at the scale we’re now, having an investigative journalism team that spends six months on a story, then that’s not only possible but also a smart business decision. Why? Because it is only a small percentage of our overal budget, but it can have a big impact. So we always have to keep stopping and asking ourselves, “What can we do now?”

What about your plans for Germany?

We’d love to come to Germany. We need to find the right people. As soon as we find someone who is the right person we’ll do it.

And you’ll stand by doing it by yourselves and not working with a publishing house from Germany?

We’d do it on our own and fairly modestly. That’s what we learned when we opened our London office: You should start with three or four people and then let them really invent what Buzzfeed should be for their audience.

In Britain, it took a few months of them trying new things before they got a sense which things worked well for the British audience. Today, we are one of the biggest sites in the UK now. It worked well. We are going to take a similar approach here, starting with a small number of people who we’ll let experiment. They would need to be very entrepreneurial and build something that has a lot of their own vision in it, not just carry out what is predefined in New York.

You were just in Berlin and apparently had talks with Axel Springer [one of the largest multimedia companies in Europe]. But you still decided against a partnership?

Springer was just curious about what we’re doing with Buzzfeed. And I was curious about the German media market. So we just had a conversation as colleagues, talking about where the industry is heading, what sort of things they’re working on, and so on.

The general prevailing feel you get from the Buzzfeed site is very positive, correct?

Of course. We sometimes use the phrase “no haters”. That doesn’t mean that we don’t do critical work.

We just ran a profile of Donald Trump, which he was really upset with. He tweeted that Buzzfeed is a terrible, irrelevant site. But the piece was very fair. Or our piece about the terrible conditions in an Afghan military hospital that was in part run by the U.S. government. We ran that story with graphic pictures in it, exposing this terrible abuse. That’s not being a hater; that’s being a good journalist, that’s exposing corruption and wrongdoing. We do that as part of our mission.

Being a hater means writing a long thing about how a mediocre movie sucks, and [doing it] in such a way that makes the author look cool. We don’t like that kind of stuff.

There was a period on the Internet in the mid-2000s when a lot of bloggers were very sarcastic and found everything shit. It was almost a lazy way of criticism.

There’s lots of mediocre things in the world. Just ignore those things. We’re probably more generally positive than other publications. We do not think being critical in itself is a virtue. Being critical of a deserving target and exposing something real is a virtue.

But we also think people are looking for things to enjoy and to celebrate. We want to show people things that are worth their time. We believe people are curious and want to discover new things.

You studied environmental science, fought against gun lobbyists, and became famous for your email conversation with Nike in 2001. Do you see yourself as an idealist? Do you want to change the world? And does Buzzfeed make the world a better place?

I think that in anything you do, you want to do it in an ethical way. If you work as a journalist, you want to create high-quality journalism, advancing the field. If you are doing entertainment content, you want to make people laugh or cry. If you’re in advertising, you might want to go from banner ads that interrupt you and block the content to advertising that adds to the experience.

I think you should look at things and ask yourself, “How should they be?” and then work towards that direction. In a way, that makes the world a better place.

This story originally appeared on VentureVillage.

VentureBeat » Entrepreneur
Niklas Wirminghaus, VentureVillage

Apple’s iWatch Will Monitor Your Health And Fitness Too

Apple is planning to make a push into health-tracking and medical devices according to two reports in the New York Times and 9to5Mac. It’s likely that these efforts will eventually work their way into Apple’s so-called iWatch, an wearable wrist-computer that Apple is expected to launch later this year. More »


Gizmodo Australia
Steve Kovach

Dylan Farrow Speaks Out on Woody Allen Sexual Abuse Allegations


Woody Allen's Golden Globe lifetime achievement award reignited a debate about past charges of child sexual abuse against the Hollywood director, and now his alleged victim has decided to add her voice to the debate.

Dylan Farrow, daughter of Allen's ex-girlfriend, actress Mia Farrow, wrote an open letter in the The New York Times about allegedly being abused by Allen when she was 7 years oldNYT journalist Nicholas Kristof contacted Dylan through his friendship with Mia and her son Ronan Farrow

Allen has never been convicted of any wrongdoing in the case. However, despite his presumed innocence under the law, Kristof decided to publish the letter, saying it's important for "the world to hear Dylan’s story in her own words." Read more...

More about Golden Globes, Sexual Abuse, Film, Us World, and Us
Fran Berkman

Popular Political Writer Ezra Klein Announces Move From Washington Post To Vox Media


The political blogosphere lit up earlier today when 29-year-old Ezra Klein announced he was leaving The Washington Post to build his own news site with Vox Media (publishers of The Verge and SB Nation). Klein quickly rose to fame in policy circles with his explainer approach to wonky policy topics and eventually grew his own team on The Post’s “Wonkblog” channel.

But, tensions grew into impasse after the The Post’s leadership, including new owner Jeff Bezos, rejected Klein’s plan for a new media venture, which reportedly cost somewhere in the eight-figure range.

According to Klein in a post on The Verge, his unnamed media venture will focus on explanatory journalism and somehow be a clearinghouse for information on new topics.

The venture’s job-announcement webpage on Vox explains its mission: “We’ll have regular coverage of everything from tax policy to True Detective, but instead of letting that reporting gather dust in an archive, we’ll use it to build and continuously update a comprehensive set of explainers of the topics we cover. We want to create the single best resources for news consumers anywhere.”

Klein further explained to The New York Times, “We really wanted to build something from the ground up that helps people understand the news better. We are not just trying to scale Wonkblog, we want to improve the technology of news, and Vox has a vision of how to solve some of that.”

The one notable product that Klein built while at the Post was “Know More,” a scrollable, graph-friendly newsfeed that encouraged users to click deeper into explanations and explore their curiosity. Presumably, Klein will be building out more sophisticated versions of this product which allows readers to learn as much as they want about a topic, rather than trying to squeeze all the necessary information into the story itself, or scattered links.

It’s also unknown how Klein’s “Project X” will cooperate with Vox media’s other properties, most notable, The Verge. Over the past year, The Verge has quickly expanded from tech to general news, including live coverage of the Grammy’s tonight.

If Klein does, indeed, create a successful venture, it will be the second missed opportunity for The Post. The founders of Politico first proposed their hyper-political blog site to the Post before starting what is now essential reading on Capitol Hill.

There was hope that when Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post that he would inject so much needed web-savvy into the old media veins of the struggling print establishment.

Still, +10 million dollars is a big investment; Wonkblog averages around 4 million unique page views a month and doesn’t have a lucrative events series that bolsters other digital properties, such as Re/code (formerly AllThingsD) and your humble tech blog, TechCrunch.

The New York Time’s David Carr was optimistic: ”Organizations like BuzzFeed, Gawker, The Huffington Post, Vice and Vox, which have huge traffic but are still relatively small in terms of profit, will eventually mature into the legacy media of tomorrow.”

The difference between BuzzFeed and Klein’s venture, however, is that Klein doesn’t traffic in, well, traffic. Many household name media properties fish a huge audience with gossip and shareable listicles.

Even Politico, for all its success, isn’t entirely an oasis of reasoned dialog and nuanced explanations. D.C. has its own versions of people and gaffe-watching.

For the most part, Wonkblog has stuck to serious news, however friendly it was to scanning. If Klein can bring in big bucks and traffic with a formula that leaves the American people more informed, he will have made an important contribution to the 4th estate.

If he fails, it might prove that the future of political media might just need more “Sexiest Bachelors Of Congress“.

Gregory Ferenstein

Who Says ‘Big Data Needs to Shrink to Grow’?

Who Says 'Big Data Needs to Shrink to Grow'?While most people were busy nursing their New Year’s Eve hangovers or getting busy with their resolutions on January 1, the New York Times ran a rather interesting headline: "Big Data Shrinks to Grow." We looked at it and said, really? That’s not our experience, but continued to read, anyway.

Read full story... - All News

How Working Against Your Circadian Rhythm Affects Your Health

Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, an article on the New York Times points out that you might be negatively affecting your health when you try to live and work outside of that preference. When you’re forced to wake up at a time you’re not used to, it messes with all kinds of things.
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Lifehacker Australia
Thorin Klosowski