Friday Roundup: Week Ending January 13, 2017

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By Natalie Munio

Obama already has a job offer before leaving his post as POTUS, Buzzfeed has clever response to Trump’s “garbage” comments, Facebook launches “journalism project,” Marissa Mayer will leave Yahoo, and Instagram stories will now have ads.

Here are this week’s top stories in marketing and advertising.

In a last-dash effort to cope with the soon-to-be departure of President Obama from the White House after eight years in office, Spotify has offered an official-ish job opportunity to the President. A job listing appeared on the music streaming service’s website, calling for candidates interested in becoming the “Presidents of Playlists.” Though it doesn’t identify Obama directly, the description drops some not-so-subtle hits suggesting the role was created with the 44th President in mind. One portion of the description reads: to “identify and substantiate new playlist ideas, (eg. from a playlist for shooting hoops with your friends, to the perfect warm up playlist for addressing the nation about health care legislation that bears your name).” Other hints include the candidate needing to have had “at least eight years’ experience running a highly-regarded nation.” Hey, here’s to hoping we have some personally curated Obama playlists to listen to in the future. 

In keeping with the recent theme of journalism and new media, Facebook has made another move in its efforts to boldly take ownership of the spread of fake news on its social platform. According to AdWeek, Facebook announced Wednesday a plan to promote better “media reporting and consumption,” calling the effort The Facebook Journalism Project. The project will include new initiatives such as new storytelling formats and new systems to better fight the spread of hoaxes to ensure that a “healthy news ecosystem and journalism can thrive.” As reported by Business Insider, a partner in the program, Facebook will provide participating media organizations access to new tools to better share their stories on the network. Previously, Facebook has begun working with third-party fact checkers to verify news, and recently hired Campbell Brown, a former NBC and CNN anchor, to head the news partnerships initiative. Bravo. 

For anyone that missed President-elect Donald Trump’s news conference this week, he had a few words for media in the room, and for the larger media in general. Toward the close of the conference, Trump called out Buzzfeed’s decision to publish 35 pages of unverified documents about the President-elect, to which Trump then referred to the media group as a “failing pile of garbage.” Backstory: this is the same information that was sent to President Obama and President-elect Trump in private security briefings which allege that Russia has “explicit blackmail material” on Trump. Other news outlets received similar reports but many only teased the material. It should also be noted that Buzzfeed stated in its post that the claims in the documents were all “unverified” and “unsubstantiated.” Still, Trump wasn’t pleased. So, in response to his “failing pile of garbage” comments, Buzzfeed decided to launch a limited-time collection in its merchandise shop titled “Our Failing Pile of Garbage.” The collection includes bumper stickers, t-shirts and other novelty items. The best part? All of the proceeds – a reported $25,000 – go directly to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a nonprofit dedicated to the global defense of press freedom.

In the wake of Verizon’s $4.8 billion deal this past July to buy out Yahoo, the internet company announced Monday that Marissa Mayer will resign from Yahoo Inc.’s board once the merger with Verizon closes. At the time the deal was initially announced over the summer, Mayer had said she planned to continue her role as CEO. Mayer was one of Google Inc.’s first employees and later signed on for the role as chief executive in 2012, a move that was heralded as a milestone for women in tech and catapulted her into Silicon Valley stardom. It’s been speculated Tim Armstrong, chief executive of Yahoo’s AOL, will take her place within the new company under Verizon. Yahoo co-founder David Filo will also leave the company once Verizon takes over business operations. 

Bad news for anyone who hates the ads that proliferate your Snapchat stories… Instagram is about to follow suit. Instagram is now letting brands advertise within its fairly new 24-hour video “stories” section after revealing this week that roughly 150 million people use the Instagram stories feature on a daily basis. According to AdWeek, that represents a 50 million-user increase in three months alone. Guess that answers the “why” for rolling ads into the new platform, since the scale is undoubtedly there. AdWeek reports the Instagram story ads will be sold “auction style” through an automated system that charges “cost-per-thousand-impression rates,” and will be open to Instagram’s 500,000 advertisers worldwide. The ads will initially be measured based on the number of people they reach, but the platform plans to later expand metrics to account for site visits and other measurements.