About The Middle
The Middle is all about what happens when public relations, journalism and marketing meet. We go behind the scenes to talk about telling (and selling) stories to evolving audiences. The Middle brings together innovative thinkers from all sides of media. Trading notes. Straight up. The Middle is produced by Edelman Canada and recorded in Toronto.
Episode 1: Steve Rubel and Mathew Ingram
What does the future of media look like? Okay, that's a big topic. But our media geeks still take it on, talking fake news and "trumours," ultra-niche content distribution, and where trust fits in. Steve Rubel, Edelman's Chief Content Strategist and Mathew Ingram, Chief Digital Editor at the Columbia Journalism Review join host Sophie Nadeau, Edelman Canada's National Media Lead, to shed some light on what media might look like in our increasingly digital - and polarized - world.The Middle – Episode 1: Steve Rubel and Mathew Ingram (June 2018)Sophie Nadeau:Hello and welcome to The Middle – conversations at the intersection of public relations, journalism and marketing. Produced by Edelman, recorded in Toronto, Canada, where we talk about what’s happening behind the scenes to tell – and sell – stories to audiences in North America and around the world. I’m your host Sophie Nadeau, the national media lead at Edelman Canada. We work to uncover stories and connect those stories with journalists, and ultimately with you, the listener. This podcast isn’t just a PR exercise – though we’re happy you’re listening and maybe we’ll even leave you with a good impression, which is always nice. But we’re here because we’re interested in the innovation that can happen when people from different sides of a problem or project come together to talk about what’s happening. Trading notes, straight up. So, let’s get that conversation started.
Today I’m joined by two of the smartest media geeks in North America, lucky me. Steve Rubel, Edelman’s Chief Content Strategist, is one of the leading experts on the evolving media landscape and he’s blurring the lines between traditional and emerging channels with his advice. He’s advancing Edelman’s thinking on the entire media ecosystem and helping clients develop new programs that blend paid, owned and earned content strategies. He’s also a diehard Yankees fan. Hey, Steve.Steve Rubel: Hello.Sophie Nadeau: We won’t hold that against seeing that we’re in Toronto. And Mathew Ingram, the Chief Digital Writer at the Columbia Journalism Review. Before he was with Columbia Journalism, he was at Fortune magazine and gigaom, writing about the evolution of traditional and social media.
And he’s a Canadian who’s also worked at The Globe and Mail, which is a daily national newspaper here in Canada, based in Toronto. He was the Globe’s first Communities Editor helping make it easier for readers to connect to the brand online. So hey welcome. Thank you.Mathew Ingram: Thanks for having me.Sophie Nadeau: So what I’m hoping we can do today is unpack those key trends that everybody needs to know about. So what are you obsessed with right now, Steve? What’s on your mind when it comes to the intersection between journalism, marketing and public relations?Steve Rubel: You know I’m obsessed with how people get their news and information and how that’s changing, and how that has created positive change, positive opportunities, new ways of communicating, new formats. But on the other side, created all kinds of issues, some of which are intersecting with kind of larger topics and political issues but I would say it’s the, for me, it’s the overarching, it’s the ongoing tension between platforms and publishers and the dynamic that’s created where basically, if you look at what’s happened, you have a small group of companies that have, you know, technology companies that have inserted themselves between content creators and content consumers, notably Google and Facebook but they’re not alone there, but it’s actually part of a much, much bigger story and the bigger story is that you know anybody, any place where there is a lot of supply is being optimized through a handful of technology companies that are managing the demand and making it easier for consumers to find exactly what they need in a very simple way. Let me pull out at the big level.
You got Google and Facebook that are arguably, one on a search-driven site and the other social side, modulating kind of what people see and what they don’t see in a news context but let’s look at other things. You know Netflix and Hulu in the U.S. and Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, you know, Amazon, are controlling the flow of entertainment content and optimizing demand based against supply and that’s creating disruption. In transportation Uber and Lyft are optimizing demand based on consumption and making it easier for people to get exactly what they need when they need it and in travel, Airbnb is doing that. So, you’ve got, there’s a bigger arc in that, you know the bigger narrative that sometimes people forget is that technology is a reducing friction between buyer and seller and in media and news, that is consumer and publisher. And so that dynamic to me is super interesting because it’s part of a bigger trend that is creating incredible benefits in many cases for the consumer. I mean news, it’s questionable if that’s created benefits, but in other industries it’s created amazing benefits. And so that is kind of the bigger arc and looking at that and trying to unpack what that means, not only in a communications perspective, but in the business perspective.Sophie Nadeau: Yeah. Mathew, that’s created definitely some losers too, right? So, this environment that Steve’s talking about – so, how do you see the world right now?Mathew Ingram: I mean I would say I’m concerned about the same things Steve is, you know, I because I’m in media. Like Uber, I think is cool. I like to use it. It doesn’t really affect me. I’m not a cab driver. But the way that Facebook and Google and Twitter impact how people get information and what information they get is, I think, the single biggest issue, not just for news companies who are having their whole revenue model disrupted, but for people in general, for how society gets its information. And I think the, you know there has never been, in history an entity like Facebook. There has never been a company that large run by effectively a single guy with two billion people using it for information, getting a view of the world that is shaped fundamentally by that company. The algorithm in particular, the way that it filters information, the way it decides what to show you and when to show it to you. That’s fundamentally an editorial function. And yet it’s being performed by this black box that’s run out of you know California by a bunch of twenty-somethings.Sophie Nadeau: It feels like the lines used to be very clean, right, between news and information. And we knew sort of where we were getting our stuff from.Mathew Ingram: And they’re not anymore, not even close. Everything is blurring into everything else, everything is a media company. People used to make fun of me because I said, still do, because I said you know everything is effectively a media entity. Every company, every service, every product, every person. Anybody with a phone, anybody with Internet access and that’s good, right. Fundamentally that’s good. It’s good to get information from different sources, it’s good to have variety, it’s good. It’s fundamentally good if you care about journalism as journalism, not just journalism as a business or journalism as media, but the flow of information, to have those tools is good but they have a massive downside.Sophie Nadeau: If you think about, Steve, how much things have changed when I left the newsroom 10 years ago, I was a black pariah, like I was completely shunned. I was told I was going to the dark side, that PR could never actually deliver journalism or content in a way that was, that was helpful for people. Fast forward 10 years later, you know, content is not just something that’s being done in newsrooms. Talk a little bit about some of the change that you’re seeing and how story moves through some of these platforms.Steve Rubel: Well I mean it is a democratized environment on one hand but it’s not, it technically is a level playing field, but it kind of isn’t, because the content, I like to say, while content is king, distribution is King Kong. It’s the people who really understand the new dynamics of distribution and adapt their content accordingly we’re going to are ones that are going to succeed. In many ways, many brands, many companies are new to content creation and they’re worried more about the art and not worried enough about the science. And when I say the science I really mean social science, right, social psychology and understanding what are, I mean talking to clients for example about what questions are you trying to answer in Google that aren’t being addressed by somebody else that you could answer with authority? What types of communities are engaged on your topics?
Where are they engaged and how do you activate subject matter experts in that environment? So, on the one hand it’s democratized, it’s open but audience development, which is a phrase used in media, a lot remains. I think one of the grand challenges of our time, because and you know the marketers have always have an out or I guess you guys would say it “oot.” But the marketers have an out in that they always can pay for distribution. I haven’t met a marketer, and I meet a lot of marketers every year, I’m very fortunate to do that, but who hasn’t, who wants to spend more today than they spent yesterday. Everybody wants to spend less. But you know they always had that. And the media companies don’t have that.Mathew Ingram: But they can on Facebook.Steve Rubel: Well they can they can. But they also have, in many cases, fewer resources, financial resources.Mathew Ingram: Because of Facebook.Sophie Nadeau: We often talk about like the key commodities in this world as time, attention and trust. Okay, so if we accept that that’s the baseline, right.Mathew Ingram: And we don’t have enough of any of them.Sophie Nadeau: No, well this is the thing. And so, everybody is jockeying for position right now, everybody’s fighting for real estate, whether it be brands and companies and newsrooms and we’re all trying to figure out the audience in these tiny little verticals. What I’m really curious about is what is this doing to audience behaviour because we have stats that show like 54 per cent of Canadians are disengaged from the news, checking it less than once a week. So, what is this doing to people?Mathew Ingram: Let’s face it. One of the big downsides of all this democratized information is overload, right?Sophie Nadeau: Right.Mathew Ingram: I mean, I feel it and it’s not just because I’m in the industry. I think lots of people feel it. And it’s not just news, it’s everything. Marketing information, political information, cultural information. It’s just, there are so many more sources than there used to be, you know, before maybe there were like three channels on TV and there was like one radio program and there were two newspapers, so information overload wasn’t really a huge issue. But now it’s literally everywhere. And it’s all the time. And filtering it is the hard part. So Facebook actually provides a service. It filters the information for you. But, it’s also excluding things, and you don’t know what or why.Steve Rubel: You know, again, another big story is that we went from relative information scarcity to total information abundance. Any time you go from a little of something to a lot of something in a short amount of time. I don’t care if it’s food, money, love.Mathew Ingram: Massive problem.Steve Rubel: It just creates all kinds of changes and behavioral changes. So we went from, if you look at a 25-year arc, I mean yeah okay, you went from real information scarcity. But even in a 10-year period, it went from you know a huge leap in the amount of content. One of the issues within that is quality because not everything is going to be the highest quality within that. Then you have the people who are controlling the flow of information, so to speak. Facebook Google et cetera. And so how does that change, I think it’s how does abundance of information…Mathew Ingram: To me big thing, trust is a massive kind of way in which people find their way through that sort of overabundance. They pick people or sources that they trust. In many cases this is I think part of the disruption for media. People don’t have to choose a media outlet anymore. So, they don’t have to go and read this or that or listen to this or that media outlet to get information. They can pick anyone, anyone on Twitter or anybody, people they’ve literally never heard of people whose names are just jokes and there and their avatar is a picture of a dog or something. But if they if they trust that person, that person becomes a source for them, an information source. And that’s an incredibly powerful thing.Steve Rubel: So two quick things. One is individual-based. I think you can see that as a theme. Right? Because social media was not really built for institutions to communicate. I mean we use it and it’s for that, and it’s done a great job of that but it’s really built as an individual medium.Mathew Ingram: Right. It works because it’s social and institutions are not social.Steve Rubel: The other one is vertical niche narrow is the other thing you’re going to see. The media landscape is not going to be as many monolithic, be all things to all people.Mathew Ingram: But I think there’s a social risk there that I’m concerned about. So, niche makes sense from a whole bunch of perspectives including the business perspective. So, it’s much more profitable to go after a niche and serve it well and I think there are media models that do that extremely well. But from a social perspective if everything is niches, where is the kind of you know common, where is the kind of social, broad perspective that people used to share, to some extent, that allowed them to talk about issues in a similar way or at least to share information?Sophie Nadeau: Like we’re all in our filter bubbles.Mathew Ingram: If we have no shared facts or no shared perspective, then it’s really, really hard to have civil discussions.Steve Rubel: Well, this is where I think Apple is an interesting company because they have news editors that are programming the news editor’s choice and the top sections. And if you are in any way an Apple News user, you’re exposed to those sections that are that are managed by editors and they’re saying everybody in some way needs to at least see this headline.Mathew Ingram: Right, and that is an interesting perspective as opposed to an algorithm, but the Tow Center just came out with a report that showed that most of the Apple choices come from a very limited number of major media brands. So that’s great, except how does that help anybody find local brands?Sophie Nadeau: And then add to that misinformation. So how does that throw everything into a tizzy?Mathew Ingram: I mean misinformation, the problem that I think lots of places are having is that misinformation is not an either/or, black and white thing. There’s clear fakes and there’s clear things where people just invented stuff that doesn’t exist. But the really hard part is the stuff in the middle where people take things that are factual and blow them out of proportion or use them to represent something that they don’t actually represent. Media organizations do that too. You know, spinning a story is something that media organizations do all the time and at some point, if you spin it too much, it crosses over into misinformation.Sophie Nadeau: So it’s interesting because I often hear that this is the sole responsibility of journalists. And actually, you know it’s interesting, Steve, it should be a bigger pie, right?Steve Rubel: It’s increasingly, all these problems have to be solved by kind of a coalition of media, government, business and, to some degree, non-profits or academics who are active in this area. So, in the misinformation area, part of it is, if there’s a void and something is not being filled with quality information and credible information, something’s going to fill that gap. So now I tell clients that…Mathew Ingram: Nature abhors a vacuum.Steve Rubel: I have to write that down, you’re too smart.Mathew Ingram: So if there’s a vacuum of information, something will fill it.Sophie Nadeau:Or as Richard Edelman often says, “silence is a tax on the truth.”Steve Rubel: So what I tell clients, if you’re not actively putting a story out there, someone else will. It doesn’t have to be through your own channels, it could be through third partie . Something else will fill it. Competitor, but also rumours that become “trumours,” in the sense that they are accepted facts.Mathew Ingram: But I think the thing that you didn’t mention that is interesting is there’s a real responsibility, I think, that individuals have, that we all have, as information consumers. We can’t wait for Facebook or the government to solve the misinformation problem. This is something that we engage in ourselves all the time when we retweet something that sounds really salacious or interesting and we don’t check to see if it’s true, because fundamentally we don’t care. It’s just, it’s interesting or it’s funny, or it’s about someone that we don’t like. And so we retweet it. Every time you do that, you’re like adding a little drop to that ocean of misinformation.Steve Rubel: So conscious consumption is an important theme. Just, again, look at eating and how people are…Mathew Ingram: And that’s how I think of it too, a diet. You think, if you’re trying to be conscious about what you’re eating, you’re thinking about where does it come from and who’s involved in and is it something that I can defend? Information, I think you have to look at the same way.Sophie Nadeau: Yeah, I agree. I guess my issue is that, so we’re media geeks. We’re not normal news consumers. And I think what’s interesting is often when I listen to news programs around content and around journalism and PR, you know, we’re kind of talking to ourselves a lot of the time and I’m wondering like how do we reach that 54 per cent of disengaged people?Mathew Ingram: I mean that is a huge question that I wrestle with all the time. Especially when it comes to things like fact checking and media initiatives that are very well-meaning aimed at sort of fighting misinformation. I love all that because I am a media geek, but the impact that that’s going to have on regular people is infinitesimal. So how can you convince someone who’s getting most of their information from Facebook and their crazy uncle shared some conspiracy theory from Breitbart or Reddit or whatever, how do you convince them to not do that or to not believe that or to check something? That’s a really, really hard problem. These are cultural problems and fundamentally human psychological and sociological problems, these are not technological problems that you can fix with like an algorithm.Steve Rubel: You have to create a reward structure. So what social media has done really well is created this reward structure for sharing.Mathew Ingram: Retweets, comments.Steve Rubel: I mean some people criticize Evan Spiegel from Snapchat. He has said that Facebook has created a reward structure where you’re competing with your friends.Mathew Ingram: Totally agree.Steve Rubel: So there has to be some sort of alternative reward mechanism that’s built in. So where is that? It’s not financial, it’s a social identity payoff.Mathew Ingram: Right. Someone said to me, could we make it as socially unpalatable or unattractive to share misinformation as it is to smoke?Steve Rubel: That’s right.Mathew Ingram: That’s a really hard thing to do. I think it’s more obvious how smoking is bad for you. It’s not obvious how misinformation is bad for you. Like so you shared some funny story that isn’t true. So what. And the thing that’s hard about it is Facebook does, it is an engine for distributing information, period. Facebook doesn’t care whether it’s true or not. Like they pretend they care because…Steve Rubel: I think they’re going to care more.Mathew Ingram: They’re going to have to care. But fundamentally all they care about is you spend time on there, you click on things and you share things with your friends. And what makes you do that? Jonah Peretti at BuzzFeed said what makes you do that is you feel a strong emotion. Truth is not an emotion.Steve Rubel: Yeah, we’ve quoted him a few times this week here. There has to be another kind of incentive. This is a classic carrot and stick problem. If sharing misinformation, if there is a stick around that, no, but maybe there’s a carrot for like finding misinformation.Mathew Ingram: And actually, one of the interesting areas I think there are lots of experiments going on with the blockchain for example, using cryptocurrency to incentivize certain kinds of behaviour. Is that going to work? I have no idea.Steve Rubel: Money never fails.Mathew Ingram: But it’s kind of interesting.Steve Rubel: But it does start at the platform level.Mathew Ingram: But we can’t rely on them.Steve Rubel: It’s a human problem.Sophie Nadeau: I mean we have research that does show, at least in Canada, about 16 per cent of consumers are willing to actively engage in sharing and talking to people about content whether it be news or other kinds of content and the research shows us that when those people engage, they bring in some of the disengaged, right? And they’re doing it because they want to do good in the world. Sometimes they have an opinion and want to share it. But I mean, there is a small group of people who can be weaponized, maybe, to change some of this?Mathew Ingram: Well they could become evangelists that you could sort of help. They could help you or help information delivery systems become better. But those people are not going to solve the problem. You have reach the unreachable or you have to reach the people who are so entrenched in their filter bubble, are so entrenched in their love of Breitbart and Fox News, that they, you have to find some way of reaching them and I think the only way to do that is understand what is driving them. You can’t just, because there’s lots of sociological and psychological research to show, if you don’t trust me, if you come from some other perspective, the more I argue with you and try to convince you you’re wrong, the more you believe you’re right. So, I’m actually making the problem worse instead of better. How do you get past that?Steve Rubel: I think it’s, sometimes we try to, or at least the way the industry talks about this, we try to solve this as a universal problem, like we have to get everybody to this. And it’s not. It’s increasing thinking about who are the moveable middle. It is classic. Again, this is a social science problem.Mathew Ingram: It is people who will never shift.Steve Rubel: Never shift. On either edge. And digital is so polarizing in so many ways. Left and right. You know, meat lovers and vegans. You know, Android and Apple. Yankees in Blue Jays. Okay. So, it’s designed to be polarizing, push you into your passions.Mathew Ingram: And I think platforms like Facebook play into that, and Twitter.Sophie Nadeau: Well, newsrooms, too. Everybody’s making content for verticles right now.Steve Rubel: To Like everybody. Some of it is like religion. You’re not going to turn you into a Jew into a Christian and vice versa. It’s not going to happen. But there’s people in the middle of everything and it’s increasingly saying how do we get at least enough people to consider that there is an alternative of something?Mathew Ingram: But part of what we talked about before is going to fight against that. If you are trying to become more niche, let’s say your business model is moving towards subscription like a lot of media companies are, you’re going to pitch to the choir. You’re going to be preaching to people who already love you or already agree with you about certain things. There’s zero economic incentive for you to reach out to people who don’t agree with you. So then, it actually, it can entrench things even further because now your business depends on it.Steve Rubel: But does there become a social, is there a social network or something that comes along with an incentivized way of getting people to look at information?Mathew Ingram: Maybe.Steve Rubel: Or does somebody start to dabble in that and say okay, you know is there…I mean look at like Groupon, how they created a different model. So, I’m wondering if somebody who’s going to come along and do that. Now, we could argue like well how are they going to get scale? Is that really going to happen?Mathew Ingram: That’s a whole separate conversation.Steve Rubel: Right and in some markets, the government is going to do things. In the U.S., probably not.Mathew Ingram: Maybe we should have a government-funded social network.Sophie Nadeau: Oh my goodness.Steve Rubel: [00:23:39] I don’t think anybody would go for that. But I mean, at China. I mean China is an extreme, but there are systems there where your standing on social networks, you know, if I’m not mistaken, your standing determines whether…Mathew Ingram: You get car insurance.Steve Rubel: Based on your credit rating.Sophie Nadeau: Also an episode of Black Mirror.Mathew Ingram: So It’s like they looked at Black Mirror and thought, that’s a great idea, we should do that.Sophie Nadeau: So with the time that’s left, I would like to do two things. I would like to one paint a picture of the future a little bit. Like we’re talking about some really complex problems. We’ve sort of come up against the idea of nudging people maybe towards some positive change to make the ecosystem a bit healthier. So, tell me what do you think the future will or should look like? And then we’ll look a little bit about what you miss about the past.Steve Rubel: Future how? It’s a big topic.Sophie Nadeau: Future in terms of media and content. We’re talking about how humans are overwhelmed by content by the idea that there’s just too much of it. There’s a lot of competition, people being pushed into verticals, which is creating filter bubbles and maybe making things worse. So, you know, what is it about the business of content and media that’s going to shift over the next few years to possibly make things better or worse?Steve Rubel: You know I even though I know, Mathew, you’re a little concerned about the money, but I think the verticalization of things and much more sophistication about audiences and building relationships with a very, very finite group of people. Now, that will happen I think more in B2B and you know and high-value information sectors more quickly. But look at how many media companies are starting to again focus on research. Not a new idea. I mean when I worked in trade media 20 years ago, I remember it was research, events and advertising, but I think you’re going to see that B2B is going to happen first and consumer, it’s going to be tough but it’s going to be focusing on some on high-interest vectors. High-interest factors and not just sports, but you know super hyper local sports, maybe even high school sports in some cases, you know, not just food but you know, I mean, I don’t know anything about food, vegan fusion…I don’t know. You guys will tell me.Sophie Nadeau: The niche of niche, basically, is what you’re saying.Steve Rubel: Right and understanding and having a multipronged business model within that, which is some advertising, because the duopoly in the United States is huge .Sophie Nadeau: Do you think the duopoly is an immoveable force?Mathew Ingram: I think it’s going to be moved.Steve Rubel: It depends, the data story is part of that.Mathew Ingram: I think there’s going to be regulation.Steve Rubel: And also the data is directly related to that. So, I would say a vertical, narrow and instead of covering monolithic topics like tech or covering monolithic topics like food, it’ll be in those passion areas, but little smaller are finite slices of that. And I think the media companies having a portfolio of those companies to hold them and put them together. And the other thing also I would say related to that is many more unholy alliances, meaning many more media companies working with other media companies that they would never work. You see a whole bunch of media companies partnering now with Vox Media on I think Concert, is what it’s called? They realize that if they group together, you know, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Is that the saying or did I totally get it wrong and I have to go back to school?Sophie Nadeau: What do you think’s going to happen?Mathew Ingram: I think there’s probably going to be an increasing…I mean my feeling is that there is, this is a great purification that we’re seeing. There’s going to be tons of things that just die, period.Sophie Nadeau: Like what?Mathew Ingram: Media companies.Sophie Nadeau: Media companies. Like who?Mathew Ingram: Well, I don’t want to name any names.Steve Rubel: I don’t think we do either.Mathew Ingram: But there are some that are weak that are getting weaker and they are going to fail, or they’re going to be acquired at tiny sums by someone else who will then fail. I think there’s a kind of massive purging of media companies that made sense during a specific time, and that time is over. And so, they just can’t adapt. They’re like the dinosaurs or something. But then the thing that interests me are the ones that are either starting from scratch. You know it’s one guy or it’s the Information and it’s maybe five or six people and now they’re hiring more. Or it’s the Athletic, and they’ve found something, a voice, an audience, the people who trust them. People who search them out and they’re going to be able to monetize that in ways that other companies could only dream of, whether it’s events or newsletters or you know research or subscription products. But that’s the magic. So, we’re getting beyond the point where just having a website or some specific tech was going to help you. Now, I think you really have to be thinking about who is your market? And that is has become so much more important than it used to be because if you serve them properly they will love you and pay you. And if you don’t serve them properly they will be gone, and your business will just disappear.Steve Rubel: I think we’re saying the same thing. There’s also a layer of personality within that. Voice is critical. But even when I say vertical, I mean exactly what you’re saying. Like personality-driven where it’s reaching a very finite audience.Mathew Ingram: And the opportunity for those things is larger than it’s ever been. It’s just harder than it’s ever been as well.Sophie Nadeau: And we’ll all be very comfortable in our little bubbles, in our niches.Mathew Ingram: Hopefully not too comfortable.Sophie Nadeau: So one last question before I let you guys go. We’ve talked a lot about the future and about what’s happening right now. You know, change has been so rapid over the last 10 years. I was hoping you could sort of tell me what you miss about the olden days. Which to be clear, wasn’t that long ago.Mathew Ingram: It’s like we’re 150 years old.Sophie Nadeau: You guys are super old. Do you remember when we had no cell phones? I mean you guys remember when we didn’t have we didn’t have smartphones. Yeah. You’re old enough to remember that so. So, Steve, what do you miss about the olden days?Steve Rubel: You know I might be…I don’t like to look back, to be honest. the past is the past and I can’t do anything about it and I really don’t like to reminisce about it because it’s gone, I can’t do anything about it and I have to live for today and think about where I am right now. Right here right now, so I’m more Zen about it. You know, I would say that the only thing I might miss is that there are, I do miss, a little bit, the personalities of news that I knew I would always turn to. So, I had an opportunity about a year ago to meet, we did some events with Dan Rather. And I was with him and I was like wow, this guy. I was thinking back to all these different events that he was at. And there’s not a lot of those people who are witness to history in every way. So, this week is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in the United States. And you look back at the people who were around for that. And they’re not there. And also, others who were there have been taken down by some significant scandals. So, I’m a little, little bit miss the news man or woman who was at everything. I mean, I watch old videos sometimes, I went to the 9/11 museum there, and you see Peter Jennings and you’re like, wow. There was a voice that you could, you turned to that voice. But for the most part I try to live in the now and a little bit of the next because I can’t go back to that. So, I don’t really spend a lot of time reminiscing.Sophie Nadeau: Mathew?Mathew Ingram: I guess I miss, this is related, but I miss the sort of individual voices that you could find yourself instead of waiting for them to show up on Facebook. I miss when Twitter was a simpler place with not as many trolls and I miss the sort of innocent times, in a way, of a bunch of people had blogs and they were smart and you went and read them, and you linked to them and they linked to you had conversations on Twitter. Like that stuff is just not possible anymore. And the platforms have taken so much power and kind of disintermediated in a way that we’re now in a place where you’ve got these giant entities control effectively so much of how information works, it’s no longer just the open web and you wander around and find whatever. And I do kind of miss that.Sophie Nadeau: Well I appreciate both of you guys coming in today to talk about this.Mathew Ingram: Thanks for having me.Sophie Nadeau: You’ve given us a lot to think about.Steve Rubel: Thank you.Sophie Nadeau: Thanks for listening. If you’d like to continue the conversation, you can find all of us on Twitter. Steve’s @steverubel, Mathew is @mathewi and I’m @sophienadeau. You can find more about Edelman’s work online at edelman.ca.I like to say, while content is king, distribution is King Kong. The people who really understand the new dynamics of distribution and adapt their content accordingly will be the ones who will succeed.
– Steve Rubel, Edelman's Chief Content Strategist
The Middle: Episode 1 recorded June 6, 2018