Next week, CBSNews.com will debut a new show called “What’s Trending” that bridges a live, weekly webcast with social media interaction. “What’s Trending fills the gap as a broadcast show for the internet generation,” explains host and executive producer Shira Lazar. “It’s not just a show with a social strategy added on to it — it’s powered by the community and social media.”
The show’s blog and social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) are already up and running, focusing on news stories trending in social media. “We’re aiming to engage the Facebook generation, people that might be finding news in different ways over their social networks, but who might want more context, a more extensive experience and going to the source of the news and links they see in their feeds, as well as creating a conversation around those stories,” Lazar tells Lost Remote. “Covering what’s trending online allows us to take on everything that people are buzzing about (and it’s obviously easier than ever to discover that) from Middle East revolutions to online memes.”
You may recognize Lazar from hosting previous streaming events, including the Oscars and the Grammy’s. She joined the CBSNews.com team in September 2009 as a digital correspondent for the blog, On The Scene, and is also the host and creator of the Partners Project on YouTube.
When What’s Trending launches on Tuesday, May 17, it will stream live on CBSNews.com, and possibly on live streaming services, as well. The show may remind you of The Stream, a new social news show that airs on Al Jazeera on TV and on the web. “It’s important to note that we are an interactive TV show that is distributed online,” explains Damon Berger, who founded the digital entertainment company Disrupt/Group with Lazar and is co-executive producer of the show. “We don’t view ourselves as a ‘web show.'”
Throughout the week, the What’s Trending blog and social accounts will keep the conversation flowing, fueled by stories and video shorts from Lazar and contributors like tech guru Chris Pirillo and social good expert Beth Kanter. On YouTube, What’s Trending has already posted several (beta) Skype interviews, such as the one above.
Berger, whose resume includes 20th Century Fox and Revision3, says the biggest lesson he’s learned about online video is that it’s a competitive environment. “Online content faces an ‘equally weighted click environment’ meaning, that there’s no reason to watch a web show vs. a repurposed piece of broadcast content (like the Daily Show), ” he said. “That is why we set out to create a high quality, entertaining, and informative experience from an audience perspective. And of course, with CBS News behind us, we had to make sure we’re living up to that standard.”
The show will stream live every Tuesday at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET.