Along with fellow billionaires Marc Benioff and Jeff Bezos, Laurene Powell Jobs has invested in the media: the company she founded in 2004, the Emerson Collective, has invested in Axios and gimlet and bought the Atlantic and the California Sunday Magazine, which also produces the influential Pop-Up Magazine.
On the last episode of Recode Decode, recorded live at Tech Lesbian Summit Powell Jobs said in San Francisco Recode Kara Swisher thinks that the future of information will not be wholly owned by the rich, but rather will look like a "public good that should be supported by public and private entities". And she pushed back the person who seems least interested in preserving the press, President Trump, calling his attacks on the media "Straight out of a dictator's book."
"It's what people do to consolidate power, to challenge a story that is not theirs," she said. "I think media degradation has been unprecedented and frightening for the past two years, and everyone should be paying attention.
"That does not help, though, that I think some media entities are playing in this area where, you know, we seen with BuzzFeed, where there is a rush to pause before everything is thoroughly checked, and that plays into Trump's rhetoric, "said Powell Jobs. "And then, we should be careful about that, or you should do it."
Below, we have shared a slightly modified transcript of Kara's conversation with Laurene.
Kara Swisher: So, sit down Laurene.
I changed my costume. I live in the neighborhood and I did it for a reason. I felt very Game of thrones aujourd & # 39; hui. My friend Richard Plepler just left HBO, so I'm doing it in his honor. But it's very Game of thrones for me.
But what I wanted to do was reduce it drastically, because when Laurene and I went to SoulCycle together. I will not go into details, but she kicked my ass, let's say it. I was like that and she was happily like SoulCycling.
Laurene Powell jobs: Right. First of all, I do not know if it's true. Second, what happens at SoulCycle stays with SoulCycle.
Really? Agree, agree, agree.
I think that's one of the rules!
In any case, I'm going to hunt … She said she would come if she received a Lesbians Who Tech Squad sweatshirt.
It's because you wear one.
I wore one that said "Badass Inclusive". And so, if you look under your Laurene chair …
Right here. It's here. Oh, excuse me, I'm rude. Here.
I already love this interview.
I know it's already a good interview. I will remove my jacket dramatically.
I'm going to put it, it's Pia's wife's. My two are at home. So I'm apparently married to Leanne, which is disturbing in many ways. And it's Laurene.
Thank you. Thank you.
So, Laurene, you now have a "Badass Inclusive" sweatshirt that you can wear. And I want you to wear it everywhere.
All right, I'll start right away.
D & # 39; agreement.
We will sit down again.
D & # 39; agreement.
Now you have 50% more people to date.
Thank God, the remaining 50% do not fit.
Agree, agree. They are fools but … clearly, hello. Let's start by talking about you and what you did. I recently wrote an article about Laurene when she bought Pop-Up Magazine. There are many very wealthy people like you who buy media. But you have been doing it for a while. Let's start with that, and then I would like to talk about some of the things you do in the field of art, activism and things like that. But let's start with the media.
D & # 39; agreement.
You recently invested in Pop-Up. You did … I want to talk about why you do it. You have invested in Atlantic magazine. You did the American journalism project for the local media. Explain a bit why you do that.
Fortunately, we started investing in non-profit media many years ago. Probably eight years ago. And then, because of the actual decimation of the newsroom across the country, both at the national and local level, and most importantly, all the available data are quite disturbing, and the balkanization of information and the polarization of news and the inability of people to find relevant local news, everything comes with these converging forces which, I think, endanger our democracy, compromise our ability to converse with each other, putting our ability to understand at risk. And so, there were a number of really interesting journalists who started the first thematic journals.
So, for example, great writers of education, criminal justice, major perpetrators of environmental injustices who have launched nonprofit journalism projects in which we have invested. We then had the good fortune of some for-profit media entities, both at the level of the ones that existed for a long time, like the Atlantic, come to us because their business model is compressed and they need a influx of capital. And for me, it was a natural extension of the whole area where we are.
How do you look at him? Because you have Marc Benioff, who has been here, who invests in Time. You have Jeff [Bezos] at the Washington Post.
You have and there will be others, I think. How do you see it and why do you see it … that many techies are doing that, or that technology money, and so on? What brought you to do it? What brought you to do that? What was the thing? Did you think that it was critical for democracy or that you were interested in the media? You have a lot of areas, but it's a topic you've focused on.
Yes, our areas of interest are those that we believe are the most calcified and important, which reflect American values and are important to democracy. So we work in education, immigration and the environment. And apart from that, it became clear to us that the cultural narrative, the kind of in-depth journalism that exposes the injustices in these areas, was attacked from the point of view of the business model …
From the internet.
From access to many free news. The advertising model is no longer a viable model and the subscription-based model has taken a long time to materialize and take off. So we lived at that time for about a decade, when we witnessed the collapse of credible and viable journalistic properties.
So for me, I actually presented the opportunity. I did not go out with the idea of wanting to buy a property. It came to us from the owners.
But were you presented with a lot of opportunities, presumably? Correct?
Yes, but not … I think we are really specific to the type of high-quality journalism of which we are both consumers. We think it's really important to have a base in America.
Such as local news or news of investigation or things like that.
Yes, and what Kara mentioned, the American journalism project is a brand new project launched by the CEO of Texas Tribune and Chalkbeat Magazines. And it's a nonprofit model that will be kind of a venture capital fund for local newsrooms across the country. They will provide both funding, technical assistance, and significant support that local newsrooms can no longer provide. [afford]. But organizations like Texas Tribune have found that having alternative sources of income keeps them alive. They therefore have incredible event activity, high quality podcasts and excellent investigative journalism that others buy, such as ProPublica.
But you do not see it as a charity thing? Because does it have to be supported by incredibly rich people?
Well, I think … No, I mean it would not be the kind of sustainable model that I think that any of us would want to see. One of the founders of the American Journalism Project believes that local journalism and journalism in America are so vital to the health and sustainability of our democracy that it should be considered a civic institution. And I agree with him.
I think that we should see it as a civic good, a public good that should be supported by public and private entities.
What are you doing with recent attacks from the president? I think he is the main striker against …
From the press and the media?
Yes, the media.
Well, I think it just came from a dictator's game book. I mean, it's just right. It's actually what people do to consolidate power, to challenge a story that is not theirs. I think that media degradation has been unprecedented and frightening for the past two years, and everyone should pay attention to it.
And do you think it works?
Yes I do. I do. I think, well, if you look at the polls on – and you probably know better than me – but about the extent to which people trust an information source, and even, you know, to extremely reliable organizations checking the facts and their reports, it is at its lowest level and at its lowest level.
That does not help, though, that I think some media entities are playing on it, you know, we just saw it with BuzzFeed, where there's some rush to take breaks before everything is really checked , and that plays in Trump's rhetoric. . And then, we should be careful about that, or you should do it.
Does that mean more … Thanks, I'll try harder. I'm pretty specific, it's my mark, that sort of thing.
Yeah, you … I read … No, I must say …
Sunglasses and precision.
Yeah, I know.
… and odious.
She was wearing SoulCycle sunglasses.
I did it.
And it's a dark room.
It's a dark room.
Yeah. I thought what's going on in SoulCycle stays in SoulCycle, Laurene!
I come back to journalism. So, I want to finish with the media, do you expect to do more … you know, in that, do you expect to do online … Do you think online and offline differently, and you wait you want to do more? There were rumors that you were going to invest in the New York Times. I think I started this rumor myself, I know it.
You started this rumor, yes, it was not me.
D & # 39; agreement.
But … would you think of more important things, like a Jeff Bezos purchase? Not the other part of his life, but continues.
No, I know. I know. But we must like that he has adopted the media that cover it. You know…
Yes, he did it.
… so, yes, there is that. So, yes, in fact, yes, now that we have a very good portfolio of properties that, in my opinion, are of very high quality and important journalism, I am open to others. I think it should look more like the American Journalism Project, where there is a fund that will support great local ownership and sustainability, and find another model, rather than simply, you know, rich people who accumulate properties. It's not very interesting, and it's not sustainable either.
That's right, it's a good point. Another question on this subject. When you think about the media, will everyone have to be online? Do you see a …
No, I do not think so. I do not think so. I like to print myself. I think the disappearance of printing and books is not accurate. I think there is a kind of asymptotic slope, but I think it reduces to about 25% of the media consumers in print, and that's where we'll end up.
I do not think everything needs to live online, and I think a lot of people like touch portability of print that way and want to put it in their bag or under their arm.
One of your partners in the American Journalism Project is that Facebook gives some $ 300 million to the local population. They are part of this American newspaper … It's a bit interesting that Google and Facebook are investing money. It's a bit like the arsonist who pays to build the house. This is my quote.
Oh yes, there are also other analogies.
Yes Yes. Can you … they can help? Should they help, since they have been sucked …
I mean, they … OK, here's something really interesting. Here's something that drives me crazy, namely philanthropists, and I use this word because I think of people who invest all their fortune in a foundation and who are built from philanthropy, would use 5% of their earnings per year. of the corpus, do a good job, then they ignored how the 95% was invested, and often these two things were at odds.
They would be very happy not to look at the 95% environmental degradation – you know, they were invested in coal, oil, and extractive resources, and on this side they are trying to address the injustice and the degradation of the environment and the fact that climate change is happening, and they never put these two things together. It's as if this lobotomy had taken over.
So, I think that way, they do not use the power of their corpus this way …
Right. It really is …
… what they really need to do is look at their algorithms, and the biases behind them, and examine what they allow to happen on their platforms and take responsibility for them. .
Yeah, that would be good, Laurene. That would be great. That's my goal.
So let's start telling stories, because you're doing something else about immigration, which is another important topic, and you're trying to strike militancy in a very different way. using artists.
I do not know if any of you saw this amazing thing and you use the technology to do it, it's Carne Y Arenait's a virtual reality experience to be at the border. It's really … Talk about it, because … Why are you doing this? Why do you finance such things? I found it very moving, using art and technology.
Yeah, I think we're entering a golden age of art and activism, and the fusion of the two. It's really exciting.
Here is a picture of it.
Alejandro approached us [G. Iñárritu], and he was working on a virtual reality experiment, and he wanted it … It was the first time that he realized in virtual reality, and he had a story that he wanted to tell. He went to agencies in Los Angeles and talked to people who had crossed the border, told them about their experiences and explained why they had come. He then used the individuals as the characters of his experience.
It's a beautiful immersive experience that allows you to be on the southern border in the United States with a group of people. The Border Patrol apprehends you, and it's extremely scary and upsetting. It's one of those experiences that once you've had it, it will never leave you. I do not know if you felt that when you went through that.
I did it. Yeah.
It's like one of those epiphanies where the veil falls and you see now, and you can never ignore it. We thought it was so important that we wanted to not only invest in the virtual reality project, but that we transferred it to Washington, DC and managed it … In fact , if you show this picture one more time …
Where are you going?
Yes, this is it. So we renovated … this old church was to be demolished, so we worked with the city, which pushed back the demolition for a year, and then we used those pieces of corrugated metal picked up at the border. , and so people had to walk through.
So it's the wall? That's the wall right there?
These are wall pieces, yes.
Sensational, you build the wall then, it's … Just for a second, and for a good cause.
Yeah, I … Well, we've deconstructed some walls, and then …
We wanted people to see what they are talking about. These are things that are 20 feet tall.
Whatever the case may be, the experience has attracted more than 9,000 people to Washington over a period of seven months. Many elected officials and their staff, and many journalists, and I think it was great. We are now looking for other cities to bring it. We are trying to rearrange the experience so that it can …
Thus, we can have more and more people, so that the content is more portable and more people go there.
So, art and activism, you also had great pictures. You had a photographer who took giant photos and you put them outside like Mitch McConnell's office, you put them on …
For example, you put giant photographs of immigrants everywhere.
Let me just tell you, I love when a woman makes a lot of money, and then, because you use it, you use it for those things. So you took some pictures, you did a picture at the border, you had a baby watching.
C & # 39; was JR & # 39; s installation.
And yes, we worked with him to install it. And this picture of the baby on the border has been seen over a billion times, so this is the story of the truly magnificent power of art and social media.
So, what … why are you doing it that way? Because there are other ways to do it. I mean, you obviously have a real presence in Washington, you have a big …
You know, I think of it as a kind of all these arrows in the quiver.
So we use philanthropy, we use politics, because we have some excellent policy experts in Washington. We use the arts, we invest in businesses. We organize meetings. We do … And I like to do, for myself, I really like to do stuff under the radar, more of the skunkworks genre.
Yeah. Including visitors to the Trump administration, is not it? To talk about immigration and these problems.
Yeah, how did it go?
It was actually with President Trump. As you can see, he repealed DACA.
That's what we met, so it did not work very well.
Yeah. So what does it have to do …
But he said, he said:I like your dress very much. "
It's a pig.
I know. Yeah. Yeah. I thought, "The things I'm going to do." You know?
Yeah. What did you say then? My God, I'm so happy not to be here because I thought, "Are you kidding me?"
That's why you should go, always go everywhere.
You know what? I should have been a billionaire. I should have really done it. It would have been so good. I could have been. I was there. I could have been.
Is it correct?
Yes it was. Yes, I was offered a job at Google while they were about six people. Same thing at Amazon.
I said, "Why would I want to do that? I am journalist. "
What do you think will change DACA and that? What needs to go? You do not have … the dress code did not work.
Member of the public: 2020!
2020, what will happen to you? 2020 is absolutely right, but go ahead.
Laurene Powell jobs: I think we are all on the bridge. We must have new leadership in this country. In fact, there is so much destruction to repair. There was decimation between the agencies. I think the problems are much deeper than any of us, even those who pay attention to them, are understanding. We need someone who can both repair and rebuild, and lead us and move us forward. We need great leadership.
Okay, if anyone has a question for Laurene, we only have a few minutes left. Let's see if anyone has any questions?
Hands in the air. Come on. Right here. Stand here and I'm going to ask another question about education, because that's the last thing she's really focusing on.
You can also ask Kara a question.
No you can not.
Member of the public: Hi. Thank you so much. I am a choreographer and a musician and, as a person working at the intersection of technology and art, there may be this feeling of having to be chosen to have access to all the resources to create of art. I'm just wondering from your side, what would you say to artists who are trying to create a really relevant piece of work that can also break through and be considered something that needs to be funded?
Laurene Powell jobs: One of my best friends is Brenda Way and she started ODC here in San Francisco 35 years ago. She started on a bus, you know that the artists are unfortunately not very popular right now, so they have to get by. His art took off, started small and grew to become a true cultural institution for the city. I think the lesson is that it takes time, sometimes, and sometimes there is a lot of struggle before the breakthrough.
I think social media, if it can be a tool of destruction and division, is also a tool for access and connection. Fortunately, you live in a time when more people can see your art, otherwise you risk falling on it. I think that being both a musician and a choreographer is a very good thing, because having two artistic outlets makes you probably better at everything. It's exciting. Maybe LWT will make you play and you will have a lot of looks.
That would be great. We would be in that. D & # 39; agreement. Any other questions? Questions? Whoever? This big crowd. D & # 39; agreement. I have two other things I want to talk about. One is your commitment to education. I visited College Track with you two years ago, it was two years ago.
How does it fit in? Because one of the things we were talking about earlier is making connections between things.
Well, College Track is an organization I created more than 20 years ago. It was actually the first time I was in the social sector. It was the first time I knew anything about the role of non-profit organizations in society and building bridges and change agents in this way. I have also learned a lot about what it is like to go and ask people for money. We are a public charity, so you need multiple sources of funding. I've understood so much about how to be a good philanthropist as an executive director of a non-profit organization. This organization, which still works and serves more than 3,000 students this year, was created because I went to speak to a senior class at a local high school here in California.
It was the first time I attended a California high school because I did not grow up here. Really, the lack of access to college education information and everything that happened after high school has shocked me. It was a class of students who chose this class because they wanted to go to university. Not one of them had taken the SATs and they were already elderly. Then I was so scandalized during a class visit, when it was supposed to tell them what it's like to be an entrepreneur. I decided to come back every week and become their university advisor because they had never seen one before. Of the 35 students, 33 had not taken the courses they needed to even enroll in a university.
I was so upset and scandalized on their behalf that I ended up selling the for-profit company I was running and that I had just started this organization to see if I could be useful and if I could be useful. Everything I learned and everything we created was and is informed by College Track students and families.
Awesome. My last question is about one of the reasons I like talking to you, is that you seem to be more awake than most people in Silicon Valley, I have to tell you.
It's a low bar.
Exactly. It's a low bar. Thank you for saying that. It's really low. How do you get the bar? It's a report this year. They got fired shit, rightly. You have been around these people forever. You know them. What does it take for them to start behaving more like you and less like them? Did they have? I mean, if not, take all their money, do the Ocasio method and take all their money. Like that kind of thing. To you too, sorry.
I mean, anyway, it's okay.
Brian Stephenson, who is such a brilliant and beautiful human being, talks a lot about closeness. I believe that. I think it's not in my nature to want to live in a bubble, but it's actually a very easy thing to do. I think it's actually one of the many disadvantages of the excess of wealth that allows you to live in a bubble. I do not think you can really change if you are not near. If you are in a bubble, you have to burst it, you have to get out of it and you have to feel uncomfortable. In fact, you must be open to learning and change, but most people are not.
Do you think they'll do it?
I think the odds are better now than they were a year ago. I think sometimes you have to hit your head with a pan on your head and then you realize, "Oh, I have to change." I think there will be some modification. I think maybe those who come behind them will learn from their mistakes and not slip into bubbles.
D & # 39; agreement. Laurene Powell.
Thank you. L & # 39; enjoy. It was fun and it was fast.