Alexis Madrigal is back at The Atlantic after 30 months at Fusion. He’ll be covering “technology, science, business and trade,” which for PR pros may sound more promising than it is. Alexis has returned to explore the role of technology in global trade. This in theory includes supply chains, SaaS and the usual B2B suspects.
First there was "A/B testing," where a publisher would float two different headlines on their own site and go with the better one. That's still around, but nowadays it's all about "dark testing" on Facebook. TechCrunch does this, as do Refinery29, Fusion and many other titles that publish directly to the FB platform.
It's tougher than ever to determine who covers what in today's tech media. Beats and sections used to be simple. Most publications had ample staffs, and the technology they covered (laptops, networking, printers) were largely unambiguous and well-understood.
Getting to know Fusion senior editor Kashmir Hill is easy -- at least a younger version of her. Spend some time on her now-defunct personal blog. You'll learn that her goal as a journalist is to give people information they can rely on. She dislikes April Fool's Day and feels like it's smart to spend at least one week a year completely off the Internet.
Is the tech narrative endangered? Lately we've cased the web for the kinds of stories we used to see everywhere -- the 600-to-800 word news story about a tech company claiming to have built something better, cheaper or faster, or otherwise out to change the world. We found far fewer than we expected, even where they once were abundant.
Get ready for a face-to-face event series better than any you've ever seen -- even if you've been to TED. It's called "The Real Future of..." (alternatively, the "Real Future Fair") and it's produced by Fusion experience designer Cara Rose DeFabio and the Fusion reportorial team. Fusion calls it "live journalism." To us it seems more like loosely-scripted exploratory theatre.
A subscriber recently asked us, "What stories are better conceived as sponsored content than as earned media?" Great question. That's why we spent time this week studying sponsored content in some of the millennially-minded publications, looking to spot trends beyond the obvious. Perhaps you'll write and tell us whether we succeeded.
Trying to reach millennials? Join the club. This week we studied BuzzFeed, Fusion, Mic, Ozy, Quartz, Vice, Vocativ and Vox to map PR's path to tech coverage. Here's what we learned. Millennially-minded tech reporters build their beats around "culture" and "future." No pitch will work unless so tailored.
You won't see potted plants and khaki pants at Fusion live events. That's one of the few things Cara Rose DeFabio is sure of. "I think a lot of it is still uncharted territory," the newly hired Fusion live event experience designer told us. "While [many people] talk about what the future will look like, I'm really excited what the future might feel like." A close friend of Fusion west coast bureau chief Alexis Madrigal and whose Twitter bio describes her as a "culture craving San Fransexual," Cara is tasked with bringing the digital originality of her solo performance career to the Fusion stage.
“Fusion is the most ambitious experiment happening in media right now, and I just wanted to be a part of it." -- Kevin Roose as quoted in Re/code, Oct. 31, 2014
Fusion isn't yet a media brand your clients and bosses will ask about. Yet now is the time to grasp it. Today's most inspired Americans are millennial and multicultural. What media brand will stake its claim as this generation's cornerstone media brand, as Rolling Stone was in the '70s and MTV was in the '80s? Univision and ABC Television want it to be Fusion.