Kara Swisher was a seasoned digital journalist and podcast host who knew exactly what she wanted when it was time to make a career shift.
“I just felt like I wanted the last part of my career to be owned by me,”Swisher said. “I wanted control and I wanted to own the IP – two things that I’m able to do with Vox and share in the risk and reward. I think everybody wants control over the things they make.”
Swisher’s latest thing is “On With Kara Swisher,”A new podcast was launched Monday by her in partnership with Vox Media. New episodes are available Mondays and Thursdays. “On”This will be the fifth podcast Swisher has created, following Sway (for The New York Times), Pivot, Recode Decode(Recode, under Vox), as well as the official podcast of “Succession” (HBO).
This time, Swisher has complete editorial control and is the owner of the IP. “I don’t like consulting with everybody on what I’m going to do,”She said.
Swisher has certainly manifested her share of media startups – and navigated plenty of corporate partners along the way. All Things Digital, founded by Swisher with Walt Mossberg in 2013, was sold to The Wall Street Journal. Next, she and Mossberg created Recode which Vox purchased in 2015.
Her most recent gig was as an opinion editor at The New York Times. She later hosted the Times’ “Sway”Podcast, which was launched in 2020.
“I wasn’t ever an employee of the New York Times, so that was good,”She said. “But I also wanted to adhere to their standards” – noting that while their format is “a little more formal,”She learned that she was not.
However, the Wall Street Journal’s recent loss of large quantities of data on its site led to Swisher and her colleagues having an epiphany about IP ownership. Swisher called the loss “a devastating loss.” “irritating.”
“With seven years of work by these amazing reporters, all of whom are now pretty well-known, and then it’s gone,”She said that early Mark Zuckerberg videos were in the archive. “All our stories, we speak to everybody, and it’s gone. It just underscores to me ownership, of me, of everything. I just thought, [in the] last part of my career, I really just don’t give away all this good stuff.”
The Wall Street Journal and its parent company Dow Jones didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Swisher claims that the new podcast is called “The New Podcast”. “looser,”The new, three-year contract between Swisher Media & Vox Media is distinct from her previous Vox contract. “Pivot,”Co-hosting the show with Scott Galloway, NYU Professor.
“It’s super wide ranging and it’s a slightly different format,”Swisher noted that the podcast has a tone similar to “Pivot,”But “not quite as kooky.” “Then there’ll be a big interview on every one of them … a big, long interview.”
With “On,”Swisher intends to use a variety of media platforms including social media and video, as well as live broadcasts. She says the podcast will incorporate formalized Twitter Spaces — a format the reporter experimented with while at The Times.
Swisher acknowledged that she would love to host former CODE conference speakers, such as Elon Musk and Susan Wojcicki. But she also stated that she values substance more than celebrity.
“I don’t want to interview anybody just for name. I want to have great discussion,”She said. “We’re not averse to well-known people, it’s just that we want to have substantive discussion with whoever we’re talking to, and we consider them smart.”
As for Swisher’s dream guest, the title goes to Dolly Parton, who she says she’s been trying to interview “forever,” alongside Taylor Swift, noting that she would focus on the stars’ entrepreneurship.
She also expressed that she intends to lean in to emotion in her new endeavor, similar to one of the last CODE panels in which Apple CEO Tim Cook, former Apple design chief Jony Ive, and Emerson Collective founder Laurene Powell Jobs reflected on Steve Jobs’ legacy.
Swisher almost wept when she recalled a conversation in which Jobs shared his story about being adopted.
“He said, ‘Just remember it doesn’t matter where you came from; it’s who you are, and the people who love you,’”She said. “I was surprised.”