Why CNN Hired BuzzFeed’s Top Political Reporters and What It Says About BuzzFeed News

Why CNN Hired BuzzFeed's Top Political Reporters and What It Says About BuzzFeed News

Two months ago, CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker dismissed two leading, young-skewing digital news sites, saying, “I don’t think Vice and BuzzFeed are legitimate news organizations. They are native advertising shops. We crush both of them.”

This week, CNN, the crusher, made its boldest digital move yet by hiring away one of BuzzFeed’s most prolific scoop artists, Andrew Kaczynski. The news organization also hired Kaczynski’s team of researchers including deputy politics editor Kyle Blaine, and reporters Nate McDermott and Christopher Massie.

“We’re clearly not your grandfather’s CNN,” said Andrew Morse, evp of editorial for CNN U.S.

Indeed, CNN has staffed up its politics and media beats over the past year, pulling from the ranks of Politico, The New York Times and now BuzzFeed.

All of this leads to loads of curiosity surrounding CNN’s hiring of Kaczynski and his team.

“I think this has been a mixed bag of a political season for CNN,” said Rick Edmonds, Poynter Institute’s media business analyst. “Getting a fresh unit with a fresh approach and a little younger and harder edge to them probably makes sense.”

He added, “CNN has tremendous audience reach, but the game keeps changing.”

Kaczynski made his CNN debut late Wednesday with a report on two more videos of Donald Trump interacting with Playboy Playmates.

Meanwhile, BuzzFeed has made some changes as well. In January two…

Learn more @ Why CNN Hired BuzzFeed’s Top Political Reporters and What It Says About BuzzFeed News via @Adweek

Brands and publishers turn to actors and comedians to give chatbots personality

Brands and publishers turn to actors and comedians to give chatbots personality

The problems with chatbots is they tend to sound too robotic. That’s why companies hire comedians and scriptwriters to shape their bot personalities and give them that human edge.

This week, Google announced it has hired writers from film studio Pixar and satirical site the Onion to help make Google Assistant, which powers its Home device, sound more human. Howdy, which works with Slack to automate simple orders, has writer and former-improv-comedian Neal Pollack on payroll. Microsoft’s Tay, which will be remembered for its racist outburst, was built by utilizing improv comedians.

“For a brand or publisher building a bot it ends up being an experiment,” said Seth Greenfield, co-founder at Imperson, which has created character bots on Facebook Messenger like Miss Piggy and Doc Brown for Disney and Universal. “One of the early lessons is that free comes at a cost: You lose your voice.”

If you look at five different bots from news publishers on Messenger, it is difficult to tell the difference. Once a company shells out for the initial cost of creating a bot, around $50,000 and then regular maintenance of $10,000 a month, according to Greenfield, there’s little budget left for crafting a personality.“

Interactive scriptwriting is a new profession,” said Greenfield. “It’s being born at this point. This will be taught at universities in the next five years.”

At agency Xandra Labs, which develops bots for platforms like Facebook Messenger, the team develops bot personas: what job they have, their siblings, daily habits, what their fears and goals are, even what their parents do and how they were brought up. Most of the time, this information is never represented in the actual bot; it’s more of a planning tool to develop a personality that can then be translated into dialogue.“

Personifying brands has never been more important,” said Jess Thoms, co-founder at Xandra Labs. “Conversational experiences between brands and consumers need to be led by writers and designers, in order to turn conversations into conversions.”

She points to Casper’s Insomnobot 3000 as a case brands can learn from, which acts as…

Learn more @ Brands and publishers turn to actors and comedians to give chatbots personality via Digiday

Not Waiting for Validation to Be Valid

Not Waiting for Validation to Be Valid by LeeAnn Chisolm

LeeAnn Chisolm writes:

As a creator and even in my everyday life, vulnerability has been something I’ve found myself struggling with lately. I want so desperately to give of myself freely and unabashedly to the world, but putting my guard down to do that can sometimes be overwhelming, if not terrifying. To me, it means opening up my whole self for judgement, for ridicule, for someone else to view me the way I often times have viewed myself—which hasn’t always been the most flattering. Sometimes, I even fear praise. Your added attention just reminds me that I am naked and exposed. Luckily, I am now journeying back to myself. I am learning that vulnerability is not about opening ourselves up to judgement, but to possibility.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the unparalleled opportunity to witness this truth first hand. My love, MaestroRiko a musician and performing artist, set out on a trip across the country to spread Free Hugs in hopes of bringing his musical manifesto to life. It was a bold and genuine opportunity to connect to people. I traveled with him from Atlanta, to Ontario, to Oakland, filming and experiencing it all. We’d head out every morning into the heart of each city where he would stand for hours with a simple, handwritten cardboard sign that read: “Free Hugs.” It was an invitation for others to come outside of themselves—their busy lives, their phones and tablets—and just be present for love. The most beautiful part of watching Riko open his arms and his heart for others, was watching what manifested from it. People were full of so much joy, when they accepted a hug. Even those who were watching, like myself, couldn’t help but be warmed by the beautiful display of God. That is vulnerability. Here is a man, who is not perfect, who’s battled with depression, who’s actively rejecting his own fears daring to be an emblem of love and light.

You don’t have to stand on a street corner to express your truth and your gifts, but you do have to express them. We are pure potential, but in order to experience that, we have to…

Discover more @ Not Waiting for Validation to Be Valid via Black Girl In Om

41% Of Marketers Credit Digital Transformation For Market Growth

41% Of Marketers Credit Digital Transformation For Market Growth

Marketers have gained more clarity about what digital transformation truly entails–and their results show it, according to new study from Altimeter Group.

Just two years ago, marketers were embarking on their digital transformation journeys with the goals of increasing engagement in digital channels (75%) and looking for greater volume in web or mobile traffic (53%). While important, these engagement metrics don’t equate to digital transformation, said Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group and author of the “2016 State Of Digital Transformation.”

These days, Solis said, marketers are concerning themselves with metrics that are more aligned with their companies’ bottom line. As a result, the report found, 41% of leaders said they’ve witnessed an increase in market share due to transformation efforts, 37% cite a positive impact on employee morale, and 30% have increased revenue.

“I think we are at a point where companies recognize that you can only get so far if you continue to work in old ways and use new technology in old ways,” Solis said. “This is why you see marketing departments becoming bigger than what they were yesterday. They’re becoming more of an integrated unit across the enterprise. And now we’ll start to see groups that disparately operated in the customer journey are now collaborating in the customer journey because they have to deliver this heightened experience.”

According to the study, customer experience is a top driver of digital transformation efforts. Fifty-five percent of leaders surveyed cited “evolving customer behaviors and preferences” as a top driver of digital transformation at their companies. “Growth opportunities in new markets” was a close second, at 53%. On the other end, 19% cited “fear of disruption” as a major reason for their digital transformation efforts.

While marketers are more advanced in their digital transformation efforts, mobile is still…

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