US President Barack Obama embraces new media with BuzzFeed and Vox interviews

President Obama chose new-media companies over Fox News and MSNBC

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The Independent US

US presidents traditionally have reserved their time for old hats in the media, established, reputable publications from which their message would be taken seriously and seen by a lot of people.

But in an effort to get his ambitions to a wider and younger audience, US President Barack Obama recently has agreed to give interviews to two new-media companies, BuzzFeed and Vox, and shaken up how presidents interact with the media.

In his interview with Vox, which was done in January but not published until this week, Mr Obama offered insight as to why he was willing to sit down with the new kids on the media block.


“So my advice to a future president is increasingly try to bypass the traditional venues that create divisions and try to find new venues within this new media that are quirkier, less predictable,” he said, referring to traditional publications that cater to established ideals.

Mr Obama mentioned Fox News, which leans conservative, and MSNBC, which has a liberal sway, as two of the traditional venues.

“And the reason we did it is because they're reaching viewers who don't want to be put in some particular camp. On the other hand, when you talk to them very specifically about college costs or about health care or about any of the other things that touch on their individual lives, it turns out that you can probably build a pretty good consensus.”

Mr Obama will sit down with BuzzFeed News on Tuesday. The publication has asked readers to suggest questions to be asked in the interview and in the comments thread readers offered up questions that ranged from the silly, “What Disney princess are you?”, to the sincere, one comment asked an in-depth question about the president’s illegal immigration policy.

That Mr Obama agreed to interviews with both publications is a testament to their growth and importance in the new social landscape of the US, but also could symbolise a shift in how politicians approach the media going forward.

Previously, Mr Obama has embraced social media to help spread his message, as well as give interviews to popular YouTube personalities.


Follow Payton Guion on Twitter @PaytonGuion.