The cofounder of Upworthy, speaking at South by Southwest Interactive on Monday, called for traditional news organizations to find better ways to engage readers with important journalism that previously never had to worry so much about promoting itself.
Grilled by David Carr of The New York Times on Monday, Eli Pariser defended Upworthy’s viral headline tactics with free market language: “We don’t do well unless people like what we do so much that they share it.”
He emphasized Upworthy’s social mission, rejecting Carr’s challenge that some of the site’s content constitutes clickbait without a cause. The site is partnering with ProPublica and advocacy groups for climate change and human rights, and recently shared a video by Lean In about girls being called “bossy.”
Pariser also pointed to a video of aggressive stop-and-frisk tactics in New York that was viewed 17 million times in five days. The 13-minute video isn’t “anybody’s idea of viral content,” Pariser said, but it gave viewers a powerful glimpse into a world they might not be familiar with. Read more