The weekday show, “AM to DM,” will run 8-9 a.m. ET on the Twitter account of @BuzzFeedNews. The program will be hosted by Saeed Jones, BuzzFeed News’ executive editor of culture (above left) and BuzzFeed Books editor Isaac Fitzgerald (above right). The show will be produced by Cindy Vanegas-Gesuale, a veteran of Fox Business Network, CNN and Huffington Post.
“AM to DM” will follow a traditional morning-show format, delivering the day’s top stories from staff reporters providing news and commentary on politics, social issues, technology, business and entertainment. But it will have some unique twists, given the nature of the medium: The show will feature “everyday Twitter heroes” who have captured the spotlight and focus on what people are saying on Twitter live, as it happens during the broadcast. Also planned are regular segments with guest “newsmakers and notables” discussing current trends, personalities — and the best jokes from the twittersphere.
Twitter and BuzzFeed previously announced the show’s concept at Twitter’s inaugural Digital Content NewFronts presentation this spring. Separately, Twitter is developing a 24-hour news channel with Bloomberg Media, slated to debut sometime this fall.
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“Twitter is the beating heart of news and our newsroom has always embraced its power unabashedly, both for breaking news and for staying on top of it,” Ben Smith, BuzzFeed News’ editor in chief, said in a statement.
Smith boasted that the show’s producers and hosts will provide breaking news and insights “from right inside the news cycle” — asserting that TV news “is basically explaining to you what happened a few hours ago on Twitter.” But that’s a pretty disingenuous characterization, given that cable news networks routinely break into their telecasts with new developments as they happen.
BuzzFeed News’ “AM to DM” (the latter being a reference to “direct message”) will have its own dedicated staff, and the company is currently looking to hire a talent booker. Wendy’s has signed on as a presenting sponsor of the show, and Bank of America and Toyota are also on board as initial advertisers.
For Twitter, the BuzzFeed show represents another expansion of its live-streaming video lineup. In the second quarter, Twitter hosted 625 live video events, which reached reached 55 million unique viewers (up 22% sequentially from Q1). That’s even as overall monthly user growth was flat for Q2, and in fact declined in the U.S. by 2 million in the period.
It’s not the first time BuzzFeed and Twitter have teamed up: BuzzFeed News’ Election Night special live-stream on Twitter drew 6.8 million total viewers last November, the companies said at the time.
BuzzFeed News launched in 2012, and now counts 300 news staffers worldwide. While the new organization — coming from the company that perfected “listicles” and pop-culture quizzes — was initially met with skepticism, BuzzFeed News has gained credibility with several significant scoops.