Jessica Lessin was ahead of the curve on the boom in subscription media.
While working as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal nearly a decade ago, she saw an opening in the journalism market for more thoughtful longform reporting. The decision to follow her instincts meant that she has been in the business of launching a subscription business just as the companies she covers went headlong into an industry-shaking pivot to direct-to-consumer offerings.
On the latest episode of Variety’s podcast “Strictly Business,” the founder and editor-in-chief of The Information discusses the growth of the eight-year-old outlet that has distinguished itself through deep-dive reporting, analysis and scoops in the tech and media worlds.
“It’s been fascinating to see the media business embrace [DTC services] and in some ways be upended by it,” Lessin says.
Lessin is the sole owner and financier of Information, which has a staff of about 40 at present. Running the company has given her perspective on what it takes to be an effective CEO and the factors that fuel a successful venture.
“I always come back to this one — as a journalist whenever I saw turnover at a company, I always thought it was a really bad sign,” she says. “And to be clear, it often is…But I haven’t gotten every hiring decision correct. I’ve made mistakes. As a founder you realize [personnel] is the only side you have to get right, right? If you can run a team and build a team, that will make you successful. If you can’t, you won’t. A different perspective on that is something I’ve felt while wearing this hat while still wearing my journalist hat.”
Lessin also offers her thoughts on what she sees ahead for Silicon Valley stalwarts including Facebook, Google and TikTok. TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance, which tangled with the Trump administration earlier this year, is one to watch for sure, she says.
“They’re one of the world’s most valuable private companies headed for a big IPO in next 12 months or so,” she says. “I think they’ll be some more drama to the story.”
“Strictly Business” is Variety’s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.
Social Media Buzz: Larry King Dies, Dr. Birx, Heathrow Crowds – BNN
(Bloomberg) — What’s buzzing on social media this morning:
Larry King, the interviewer whose schmoozy style attracted celebrities, politicians and other newsmakers as guests and made him the star of a top-rated U.S. cable talk show, has died. He was 87.
- King died Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The cause of death wasn’t provided. The cancer and stroke survivor had spent time recently undergoing treatment for Covid-19.
Pfizer Inc. is trending on Twitter. Senior doctors in the U.K. are urging the gap between first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine doses be halved to ensure efficacy. The U.K. extended the maximum wait from three to 12 weeks to get more people to take the first shot. France may also delay second doses to stretch supplies.
- Large crowds at Heathrow Airport on Friday sparked concerns of virus spread. U.K. only allows residents to travel internationally for “legally-permitted reasons.”
Dr. Deborah Birx said she “always” considered quitting Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force as she worried she’d been viewed as a political person. “I mean, why would you want to put yourself through that, um, every day?” Birx told CBS in an interview that will air Sunday, according to an advance clip. Her term ended as Biden took office.
Protests broke out in cities across Russia as tens of thousands demanded the release of jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Police detained hundreds of people.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Blockbuster Laine-Dubois deal draws mixed reviews on social media – Sportsnet.ca
Sometimes, change happens fast.
Mere days after Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella benched Pierre-Luc Dubois, one of his team’s best players, in an overtime loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Dubois was packing his bags to go play in another country altogether.
The Blue Jackets traded the 22-year-old, who had requested to be dealt shortly after signing a two-year, $10-million bridge contract in the off-season, to the Winnipeg Jets for superstar winger Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic in a move that sent shockwaves through the NHL.
Not all blockbusters are universally well-received, of course. And while some on Twitter celebrated the move as a shuffling of high-profile talent, others were quick to wonder how the dynamic between Laine, an offensive-minded forward, and Tortorella will play out.
Here is some of the best reaction to the winter blockbuster:
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 23, 2021
Oh yeah, this Tortorella/Laine relationship isn’t gonna have any issues..none at all.
— Scott MacArthur (@ScottyMacThinks) January 23, 2021
Now that it’s been announced, some personal thoughts:
– Laine’s talent is more rare than PLD
– The connection with PLD dad played a role
– not sure Roslovic needed to be added in
– Laine & Torts
— Rachel Doerrie (@racheldoerrie) January 23, 2021
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 23, 2021
Social media's sea shanty trend scores well with musician-curator – CBC.ca
Southern Ontario folk musician Ian Bell says it makes sense that sea shanties are taking off on social media right now because they are participatory and easy to learn.
“It’s easier to learn Heave ‘Er Up and Bust ‘Er than it is to try and figure out all the bits for, say Bohemian Rhapsody or something,” Bell, who is also the former curator of the Port Dover Habour Museum, told CBC.
“I think for a lot of people, singing shanties at this moment is like the musical equivalent of learning to bake your own bread.”
The social media platform Tik Tok is awash in videos of people performing the traditional work songs or altering others’ videos of them, and even talk show hosts such as Stephen Colbert have gotten in on the action.
The songs are appealing because of their communal nature, Bell said.
“There is nothing better than being in a large gang of people who are singing their faces off often in three or four part harmonies, and it’s one of those situations where it kind of goes beyond musical. You know the vibrations can go right through you,” he said.
One of the best shanty sings used to take place at the Mill Race Festival in Cambridge, he said, where 60 or 70 singers would pack into the Kiwi Pub and belt out the numbers.
Songs to make work easier
Shanties aren’t so much songs as they are templates of songs, Bell said.
The rhythm helped workers carry out tasks in unison such as pulling in sails on sailboats.
“Some of the jobs needed a bunch of short pulls, and some of the jobs needed longer pulls, and so there was a whole repertoire of songs that fitted those needs and that the sailors sang to make the work go a little more easily,” he said.
But the lyrics were fluid.
Each work crew might have a shantyman — possibly the person with the loudest voice — who might recall some of the original words to the number, but there was a lot of improvisation, Bell explained.
“If the job wasn’t over and he’d finished the song, ‘Well, we’ll add a verse about the cook,'” he added.
Great Lakes shanties name local spots
A number of sea shanties were written on or about the Great Lakes and they are particular to the types of ships on the lakes, he said. Specifically, they were schooners rather than clipper ships.
There were lots of capstan shanties, or songs sung while rotating the capstan to pull in an anchor, he said. Some also specifically mention the lakes or the surrounding areas.
“They mention Buffalo and they mention Long Point and they mention Windsor and Sarnia,” Bell said.
For those wanting to learn a shanty or two and get in on the social media activity, Bell recommended Bully in the Alley and It’s Me for the Inland Lakes.
“I love the way it’s happening on Tik Tok,” Bell said, “which I haven’t tried, because, let’s be frank; I’m an old guy.”
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