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Racing to Go Viral | Ben Smith & Elamin Abdelmahmoud

May 22 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Viral Journalism: Ben Smith in Conversation with Elamin Abdelmahmoud

What’s at stake when news becomes click-bait? In a data-driven world where success is often measured by likes and shares, news outlets are fighting for eyeballs. In the race against fleeting attention spans, what’s the risk when the news that gets noticed isn’t the most important?

Journalist Ben Smith discusses his acclaimed book Traffic: Genius, Rivalry, and Delusion in the Billion-Dollar Race to Go Viral with writer/CBC host Elamin Abdelmahmoud. Smith provides an insider’s look at two of the most influential news organizations in the world, The New York Times and BuzzFeed in this partnered event with the Toronto Public Library. With his unique vantage point, Smith offers an unvarnished account of the struggle to balance journalistic integrity with commercial success in an age of social media and viral content.

What happens when traffic is a determining factor in deciding editorial content? What stories aren’t getting their rightful attention? And how can we ensure that journalistic integrity outweighs popularity?

Join the conversation.

This event is part of our new series exploring what’s at stake when intellectual freedom is threatened.

Q&A and book signing to follow. Books available for purchase.

Ticket registration for this event is required.


About Our Guests

Ben Smith

Ben Smith is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Semafor. He was media columnist of the New York Times, and previously the founding editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News. Ben has covered American politics for more than a decade at Politico and the New York Daily News among other outlets, and launched a number of political blogs.

Elamin Abdelmahmoud

Elamin Abdelmahmoud is the host of CBC Radio’s daily arts, pop culture and entertainment show COMMOTION, and a former writer for BuzzFeed News. His work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, Rolling Stone and others. Elamin is the author of Son of Elsewhere: A Memoir in Pieces, a number one national bestseller, a Globe 100 book, and a New York Times notable book.





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May 22
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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