There is a new ubiquitous media brand on Twitter.
No, I’m not talking about Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media or BuzzFeed or The Verge, or any other investor-backed startup.
I’m talking about @HistoryInPics, which, as I discovered, is run by two teenagers: Xavier Di Petta, 17, who lives in a small Australian town two hours north of Melbourne, and Kyle Cameron, 19, a student in Hawaii.
They met hustling on YouTube when they were 13 and 15, respectively, and they’ve been doing social media things together (off and on) since. They’ve built YouTube accounts, making money off advertising. They created Facebook pages such as “Long romantic walks to the fridge,” which garnered more than 10 million Likes, and sold them off. More recently, Di Petta’s company, Swift Fox Labs, has hired a dozen employees, and can bring in, according to an Australian news story, 50,000 Australian dollars a month (or roughly 43,800 USD at current exchange rates).
But @HistoryInPics may be the duo’s biggest creation. In the last three months, this account, which tweets photographs of the past with one-line descriptions, has added more than 500,000 followers to bring their total to 890,000 followers. (The account was only established in July of 2013.) If the trend line continues, they’ll hit a million followers next month.
In his new book The Loudest Voice in the Room, Gabriel Sherman portrays Roger Ailes as “the quintessential man behind the curtain,” a great-and-powerful Oz who has remade American politics and journalism. Sherman shows how Ailes transformed the Nixon Administration’s calls for balanced news into the platform of his cable channel, Fox News. Fox News, Sherman argues, used “entertainment techniques to shape a political narrative that was presented as unbiased news,” something that makes Ailes “a unique American auteur.”
Ailes is unique, but not for the reasons Sherman suggests. Ailes made conservative news popular and profitable, but he was not the first to mingle partisanship with news. The twinned concepts of balance and bias were not his legacy but his inheritance. Long before Fox News, before Ailes and Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, there was a conservative media complex in the United States refining a theory of liberal media bias. This idea trickled up to the Nixon Administration, and well before Ailes tried his hand at “fair and balanced” broadcasting, the major networks were already reorienting their news analysis toward ideological balance.
The idea of “fair and balanced” partisan media has its roots in the 1940s and 1950s.
Read more. [Image: Fred Prouser/Reuters]
Don Draper was right: The most important idea in advertising is new.
Actually, no, they would never do that. No venue could bring these people together.
And yet, each of these people has stood before the IamA subcommunity on the social network Reddit, and typed those immortal letters, “AMA.”
Ask. Me. Anything.
Read more. [Image: Reddit]
In 1990, 75 percent of Americans believed homosexual sex was immoral, and gay marriage was illegal in literally every jurisdiction in the world. Not quite 25 years later, a majority of Americans support gay marriage, and among young people support is as high as 70 percent. That is a breathtaking transformation; if you’d told LGBT organizations and advocates a quarter century ago that they were on the verge of a public relations coup of this magnitude, almost none of them would have believed it. Even now, it’s hard to credit. How on earth did it happen?
Leigh Moscowitz’s new book, The Battle Over Marriage: Gay Rights Activism Through the Media doesn’t set out to answer that question, but it does hint at one possibility: that the public relations revolution was achieved, in part, through the tremendous savviness and hard work of gay rights activists.
In the 1990s and early 2000s antipathy to LGBT people in the media was intense, and appeared in ways both overt and subtle. Even when the topic was gay marriage or gays in the military, gay life was exoticized: Images accompanying LGBT news items often showed “seedy gay bars or seminaked parade revelers,” in the words of an Advocate article Moscowitz quotes. News networks often framed debates in terms of God vs. gays, with gay activists on one side and anti-homosexual religious leaders, with all the respectability that religion lends, on the other.
Read more. [Image: Joshua Roberts/Reuters]
Does the legislation put the privacy of Americans at risk? More than progressives acknowledge — in part due to ham-handed conservative critiques.
Read more. [Image: Tedeytan/Flickr]
Here’s a sneak peek of our October issue, which will be available online tomorrow morning. What do you think of the cover?
The Amazon CEO now owns not only The Washington Post, but also El Tiempo Latino. And The Express. And The Gazette.
The president offered his take on the decline of the journalism business in an new Kindle Single interview.
How his insightful remarks about the Constitution inadvertently make the case for a Supreme Court “media pool”