Interviews and Webinars

Qwoted is committed to exploring the current state of the media by speaking to industry leaders and educating future generations of media professionals. What has social media and technological innovation brought to the table? What can we expect for the future of journalism?

Peer Schneider

Peer Schneider grew up in Germany and attended college in Japan. Fresh out of journalism school, Schneider started his career as an editor at Imagine Media (now Future) where he helped define around-the-clock games and entertainment coverage for enthusiast audiences. He then co-founded what would later become known as IGN Entertainment, a spin-off media company that was entirely focused on the digital online space. As the sole editorial/content representative in a team of execs in the middle of the media start-up boom of the early 2000s, he had to work hard to assert a focus on editorial quality, courage, and building a direct connection to the audience via community tools. That audience and engagement focus coupled with an expansion to (then) emerging platforms such as YouTube, set him on a success course to bigger reach and passionate followers. 

The profession of journalism feels more attacked today than in a long time, but also highly necessary. Do you feel that’s true, and if so, why?

PS: In entertainment journalism, you can sense a wedge being driven between critics and audience, with a drive to discredit professional critics by highlighting user reviews toolsets that often only tell a part of the story. Just like there is wisdom in the voice of consumers, there is tremendous value in hearing from a variety of critics that may not always agree with each other or a vocal portion of the audience. We need to change the script from averaging out scores and opinions to celebrating the multitudes of voices and viewpoints. 

What do you see as some of journalism’s biggest potential pitfalls? And what gives you hope for the future of journalism?

PS: One of the big pitfalls lies in journalists writing for robots – engineering signals for search engines over a focus on clarity and voice – rather than their human audience. Trying to create a top engagement driver on social networks may run counter to a quest for higher quality content and depth of research. I’m confident that, in the end, the correct path is creating things people don’t just search for, but actually like and want to come back to over and over again. It would be a shame if the best content on free platforms isn’t discovered by its target audience because it cannot stand up to SEO engineered pieces of dubious quality. But I have hopes that said robots get smarter and smarter and get the right content in front of the right user; that quality prevails.

If there’s one thing you could change or improve about journalism—in any area—what might that be and why?

PS: Proper sourcing and linking. Too many stories are repeated and rewritten without providing a path back to the originator. There are still big content businesses running unchecked on social media platforms that replicate images, words, and videos taken from other outlets. When coupled with the power of algorithms that favor the most active and most-followed, it’s got the potential to be destructive. With Google controlling so much of content discovery, it’s incredibly important that journalists have each other’s backs and follow sourcing and crediting best practices.

Social media has upended the traditional media landscape. One of the great challenges it creates is authenticity and malevolent actors. How do you think journalists and reporters should deal with the rising tide of misinformation?

PS: It’s sometimes difficult for the truth to shine as bright and sound as loud as the most juicy rumors and conspiracies. I firmly believe the work isn’t just about outlets building trust and reach and being able to provide reality checks – journalists need to focus on forging connections with supportive audiences and also be open to change the minds of those that are misled. That means engaging with those who are in respectful disagreement, rather than just addressing the familiar choir.

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