Quackery and COVID & The Future of Media, Podcasts and Curated News

Sunday, January 30th, 2022

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What Happens Next is a podcast where an expert is given just SIX minutes to present his argument. This is followed by a Q&A period for deeper engagement.

Today’s topics are Quackery and COVID & The Future of Media, Podcasts and Curated News.

Our speakers are Dr. Ari Ciment and Chris Riback.


Larry Bernstein:
Welcome to What Happens Next. My name is Larry Bernstein. What Happens Next is a podcast where the speaker gets to present his argument in just Six Minutes and that is followed by a question-and-answer session for deeper engagement.

Today’s discussion is on COVID as well as the future of media, podcasts, and curated news. Our first speaker today is Dr. Ari Ciment who is a pulmonologist and works in the COVID ward at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach. Ari has been my guest on the last six shows and he is officially a regular.

Here are my topics for Ari this week:

How important is natural immunity for COVID?
Do the recent cases of heart inflammation for young adults change the calculus for kids taking the vaccine?
Should I take a booster if I just had Omicron?
How do you tell what COVID studies are quackery?
Do you think Covid will jump to animals and back to man?
How can we get a faster turnaround for vaccines and treatments to deal with COVID mutations?

Our second speaker is one of my best friends, Chris Riback. I’ve known Chris since high school when we were in the same home room. We were roommates after college when Chris was a TV producer with 60 Minutes.

Today, Chris is a partner with Good Guys Media Ventures where he helps clients with their media strategy.
I’ve asked Chris to speak about three topics: How media is changing, the future of podcasts, and what is happening with curated news. If you are a news junkie like me then you are going to love Chris Riback’s Newsletter which is his daily briefing on world affairs, business and technology.

Chris is offering What Happens Next listeners a 30 day free trial of his newsletter so you can check it out. I’ll include the link with this week’s agenda and on the website.
Alright, let’s get started with our first speaker Dr. Ari Ciment.


Dr. Ari Ciment

Topic: Covid Quackery, Natural Immunity, Should Young Adults take Boosters?
Bio: Pulmonologist and Critical Care at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach

Dr. Ari Ciment Q&A:

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Chris Riback

Topic: Changing Media, Future of Podcasts, and Evolving Curated News
Bio: Media Strategist with Good Guys Media Ventures, Former 60 Minutes TV Producer, and Publisher of Chris Riback’s Newsletter
What Happens Next listeners get a 30-day free trial of Chris Riback’s Newsletter. SIGN UP!

Thanks Larry. You asked me to cover three topics. Number one, how is media changing? Well, it’s already changed. Every brand is a media company, every business, every nonprofit, every person. Let’s start with what is a media company? A media company is defined by four elements: content, distribution, audience, and monetization. A publisher uses content to build an audience, and then monetizes that audience.

Traditional media properties: The New York Times, CNN, Larry Bernstein’s What Happens Next monetize their audiences through advertising or subscriptions, merchandise, et cetera. You monetize your audience via personal pleasure. That’s the capital you derive, but we all know you’re different, Larry.

I realized how media changed in the early 2000s When I moved from 60 minutes, where I made content that CBS distributed to audiences it monetized to Citigroup where I built CitiMedia. We took primary global financial information that Citi gathered daily turned it into content, and distributed that content via their web-based trading platforms to audiences they monetized. At the highest level nothing had changed. Content distribution, audience, monetization. At the same time, everything had changed. Citigroup was a media company.

Now, a brand that acts like a media company has a huge advantage. It already knows how to monetize an audience. These audiences include customers, intermediaries, policy makers, influencers, community leaders, employees, and more. By using meaningful, useful content that benefits their audiences, makes them smarter, the brand can deepen relationships, stay relevant, become the first call, and activate their already proven ways to drive revenue. And because technology has made content creation and digital distribution easier, largely through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, even TikTok, it’s no longer just big companies like Citi who want to act like a media company, it’s every company, every brand. That’s why I launched Good Guys Media. I knew there was a tremendous business in helping brands act like media companies.

Number two, what’s the future of podcasts? My answer: growing exponentially while simultaneously becoming more niche and specialized. I listen to podcasts a lot for the same reasons everyone does. They’re perfect while I’m driving, walking the dog, doing dishes. Virtually, every other form of media, a YouTube video, book, TV show, email requires you to transfer your attention from one focus area of your life to another. You have to stop driving to read an email, stop walking down Fifth Avenue to watch a YouTube video. Podcasts are the reciprocal. And the difference is everything. With podcasts, you can still do your mindless activity, drive, walk, and transfer that focus to the podcast content.

They could be simply entertaining, but they also can offer incredible knowledge. As we compete in the intelligence economy, I can trade mindless time to become smarter in whatever topic I want. And this benefit is supported by the digital distribution advances. When we help businesses act like media companies, podcasts are our most popular product. Businesses know that when the audience listens to their podcast, that audience is focused on their content. Podcasts are like a four for one. For one 30-minute audio recording, they get the podcast, an SEO rich transcript for web posting, a month of social media content, even video if they do it by zoom. It’s incredibly efficient.

Number three, the future of curated news. Every company and every individual can be a media company. I maintain and monetize my own Chris Riback branded media properties. Chris Riback’s newsletter, Chris Riback’s conversations. And soon to launch Chris Riback’s news club. For the newsletter, my thesis is straightforward. There’s too much content, we all need a good editor. I can be one. My goal is to help subscribers save time and stay smarter.

Six days a week, I offer the ideas, trends and events you need to know. I read mostly everything so you don’t have to. I try to factor in what you surely already know, what you might have missed, and what bears repeating, but with an emphasis on what’s essential. I also add videos, tweets, graphs, and more. What makes my newsletter useful though, isn’t what I read, and I read a lot, but rather how I edit. It omits what you don’t need to know. And that’s the future of curated news. I’m not selling news, I’m selling judgment. This approach is the exact opposite of most media properties, whose business model depends on endless content. More webpages equals more ads.

I have to earn trust with my subscribers. My readers want to be aware of news and events outside their specific interest areas, the ones they likely miss, because there’s too much noise out there. My subscribers want the context to understand quickly how things connect. For example, how does an Amazon union vote in Alabama connect with Washington DC congressional hearings with tech leaders? They want the wide range of sources they surely don’t have time to read.

My relationship is directly with the readers. I earn their trust through good editing and strong connecting, not by promoting a particular news brand. And to close Larry, I wanted to make this offer, for any of your listeners who want to check out my product offerings for free, who want to save time and stay smarter, I’ve created a free 30-day trial for What Happens Next listeners. Any of your listeners can go to https://chrisriback.substack.com/WHN and try it out for free for 30 days. Larry, I will be happy to take your questions.

Chris Riback Q&A:

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