Live Blog: Guest Speaker Dan Oshinsky from BuzzFeed

Miss the full meeting? Click through to read the live blog.

4:55- ONA Mizzou's Laura Davison gives Dan Oshinsky a call on Skype
4:56- High hands! A tour of the BuzzFeed office including a Ryan Gosling life-size cut-out.
5:00- A formal introduction: Dan was a convergence grad at Mizzou (the second convergence class ever!) and he started and Tools For Reporters.
5:01- He's here to give us some ideas we can steal.
5:04- Dan started Stry because he loves long-form stories/journalism
5:05- Now Dan's looking at how older folks like our parents share. He's looking into the potential of email (even though most journalists tend to avoid email).
5:06-Where does journalism fit in? Dan hasn't been doing much writing these days but he's done a little like Washington, D.C. Is The Worst During A Snowstorm and 19 Simple Questions To Determine If You Really Hate Duke.
5:08- So the question is where does long form and investigative journalism fit in? BuzzFeed does more shorter stories and linking to content.
5:09- Mind blowing that Congress is sighting us while we're doing stories about cats. But there's a lot of live, accurate reporting happens at BuzzFeed. Dan mentions the live coverage twitter team at BuzzFeed is great.
Dan Oshinsky begins his presentation by explaining his career arch and how his digital skills acquired at the Missouri School of Journalism helped him land the job.
5:10- Questions? Just kidding... One thing Dan loves at BuzzFeed. Pretty much everyone here at BuzzFeed has BUILT something. Dan built Tools For Reporters, one BuzzFeed employer has a Hall of Famers site, one of their sports editors created Modern Seinfeld. (So you want to work at BuzzFeed? Go build a cool sight). One of Dan's favorite projects a BuzzFeed did was create a "Tourists/NewYorkers" project. So start a cool Tumblr, twitter, project, etc.
5:14- Josh, a recent grad, asks: What does the email/newsletter of the future look like? Dan says newsletter email of the future should have relevance. Dan recommends Digg's newsletter because it is relevant and consistent. Hopefully in the futures newsletters will be more image heaving and have more relevant content?
5:17- Shaina asks- What can we be taking advantage at the J-school while we're here? The investigative journalism building is right here! Dan works with people who are all about IRE. People are looking to hire people who understand data. You can learn analytical and investigative skills and it really only exists at the school of journalism.
5:19- Dalton asks how BuzzFeed transfer from just pictures of cats to more serious journalism? Dan says the staff of BuzzFeed looks in part like us, younger 20-something people but then there are older folks.

Dan Oshinsky, Buzzfeed reporter, answers questions from guests at ONAMizzou meeting.
5:20- Dan: We focus a lot on how people consume our pieces. We brought over a staff member from Politico. I not just have twitter but I really understand engagement. We never to slideshows just giant, mega lists.
5:23- Our audience has different expectations. It has been a really weird transition. Someone will probably write a book about this org and how it did this one day. We still put good new values first.
5:24- Business model for BuzzFeed? Dan says this is the first place he fully understands how they make money. They're pioneered the idea of sponsored content. Have an amazing creative team that looks like editorial team but works with advertisers. The sponsored content really does get shares.
5:26- For AT&T, BuzzFeed created Instagram of Dorian Gray cartoon.
5:27- Like how people are ok with Super Bowl commercials because they know the advertisement will be creative and interesting.
5:29- We are doing some changes to make it clearer that these are ads. Check out New York Magazine's piece on BuzzFeed and sponsored content. It is important that people know that it is sponsored content?
5:30- Question: How are journalists being evaluated? Shares? Clicks? Dans says we don't look at clicks but we do look at shares. Where are people sharing this? How are people getting to the site? Pinterest is one of our biggest referrers of traffic, surprisingly bigger than twitter. However there is no pressure to BuzzFeed journalists to get a certain about of shares/clicks.
5:32- Question from Helen: How do you make likeable, shareable content that is NOT sensational? Dan says an example is the Boston Marathon bombing. Reddit this week went through all the photos and identified "guilty" looking people. But here we really try to get it right. We have two of our BuzzFeed people on the ground. There was a lot of fake video from the explosion in Texas and BuzzFeed's editor have been very critical and using tools to analyze. Let's make sure what we're saying is real, is real and true.
5:36- How to maintain balance between news and entertainment pieces? We have an even number of staffers on different teams. The Buzz team (cats!) and then teams for culture and entertainment and politics.
5:37- Cat stuff is shared 10 times as much as dog stuff. Dan says "Go dogs!"
5:38- Laura asks: What do you think about the idea that entertainment products will be most successful in transitioning into more serious news? Dan says it can many ways, what really matters is that you are doing something new that has a supportive audience that wants to share content.
5:40- The reason NPR will be here forever is because there is a dedicated audience that will fight to keep that news provider
Cats are shared 10x more than dogs, according to Oshinsky. Hence, why Buzzfeed focuses on the feline memes.
 5:41- Zach asks: Would you change things from what you did with your long form projects after being at BuzzFeed? Dans says: Yes! He's proud of what he did but understanding how outreach and sharing works, he changed distributing tactics so they could get more views and sharing. So more people who would want to read those pieces would get to.
5:44- One of the top ten google searches that sends folks to BuzzFeed: "Nicki Menage Butt." So things that people will search for, they wouldn't necessarily share and vice versa. So for I would have changed...
5:46- If you were applying for jobs now, what would you have done that was a little off the beaten path? Dan says he's entrusted in building stuff for the web, so... we have our own CMS that we've hired a reporter who has used so many CMS's that she can help improve BuzzFeed's. So try stuff, build stuff. Example: Waldo at the Masters. The job that Dan has now didn't exist. If Dan could go back, he would have done a lot more networking with visitors. You have to stand out. More than having a lot of twitter followers, create something and meet people.
5:50- Teresa asks: How much thought goes into these posts? There was a lot of thought into posts like Colonel Meow. We flew him out there. When there is a post idea they reach out to fellow writers and editors, there is a lot of g-chats. 42 People You Can't Believe Exist. You have to understand where people are coming from, what resonates with people. Facebook is where people go to share stuff that is who they are. Twitter can be more random and newsy and Pinterest is more about peoples hopes/aspirations.
5:55- What has Dan learned? You have to put in a lot of work. It sucks and it's hard. The American Idol idea that you can become successful overnight doesn't exist in journalism. Start routines. Make sometime to do everyday what you want to do. Routine matters. Be willing to start stuff for cheap. The sooner you can start to get feedback the faster it will get better. What am I thankful for? I came away from the j-school knowing many people who care about the same things I do. Take advantage of being in Columbia. Do whatever makes you happy but just do a lot of it!
5:58- Dan wants to pimp out Find Dan on twitter and
6:01- Go to Shakespeares or the 'Berg for Dan!

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