Matthew Segal Wants Your Undivided ATTN: [Exclusive]
Undivided ATTN: tackles the biggest stories and the most complex issues, but makes them entertaining, funny and digestible. With so much going on in the world, itâ€™s impossible to keep up, right? And even if youâ€™re trying to remain current on maybe just the big stuff, you donâ€™t always know who the important players are. What I love about Undivided ATTN: is that theyâ€™re highlighting topics that are important, but coming at them from a fresh perspective and giving viewers the most pertinent information in about five minutes or less.
Recent episodes highlight STDs, paternity leave and the NRA. While some facets of each episode might be uncomfortable to listen to or discuss, the show presents facts in an interesting and engaging way. Did you know STDs are on the rise because both federal and local governments have cut prevention funding? Did you know paternity leave would be a great way to decrease the gender pay gap? Did you know the NRA used to be in favor of gun safety laws? And asÂ Undivided ATTN:Â digs into these subjects theyÂ highlight little-known facts and figures and when they talk about a problem, they also suggest solutions.
Recently, I had a chance to speak exclusively to ATTN: co-founder Matthew Segal. I asked him about the editorial philosophy for the show, how they choose their topics and hosts,Â upcoming episodes and more.
TV GOODNESS: ATTN: has been on my radar for a while and I recently discovered Undivided ATTN: on Facebook Watch. What is your editorial directive or your editorial philosophy for the show?
Matthew Segal: “There’s a lot of discussion in the news today that assumes viewers have all the context. And the truth is, not everyone does. You hear names and terms and acronyms and the players all thrown out on a daily basis in the news orbit. Sometimes, frankly, you get intimidated and you don’t realize, ‘Oh wait, I don’t have even the basic context or fundamentals to this story, so I feel left out. I shut it out altogether.’
The premise of the show was to take some of the biggest stories that are happening in the world and contextualize them. Let’s get the basics and let’s get the most accessible and digestible explainer around them as possible. Let’s try to keep a hybrid of topics that are really in the zeitgeist, coupled with topics that are not getting enough attention in general and need a little bit more focus.
That was the premise of the show, though we sometimes use humor and cultural analogies to make the issues feel more tangible. But at the end of the day, the goal was to break down the biggest issue of the week in a way that could help people feel like they have the basics.”
TV GOODNESS: I do like that you’re focusing on some political issues, but I also love the episode on high heels, which found to be so fun and interesting. How do you pick your topics?
Segal: “We pick our topics by looking at a hybrid of what’s happening, what’s the biggest topic of conversation and should we react to that? Or is there a topic of conversation we think is really interesting that’s timely based on some current event happening that we want to draw more awareness around?
In the high heels one, we called that the New York Fashion Week edition. Fashion Week had just happened; people from all over the world descend on New York City and show off the latest fashion trends and ideology. We said, ‘What can we do around Fashion Week that’s not just pure summarization?’
The topic of high heels was interesting because men are starting to wear [them]. High heels have been an evolving concept, as we pointed out, for literally hundreds and hundreds of years. They used to have a functional purpose. Now, one could argue, they still do have a functional purpose around making people stand a certain way. But now it’s less of a functional design and style purpose.
Then there’s some feminist implications to high heels as well that we examine through the episode. All in all, it was a fascinating explainer piece that gave you history and context. It’s all fun, but you learn something. Not everyone knows men and King Louie wore high heels and how that all evolved and how it changed throughout the decades and centuries.”
TV GOODNESS: You make things fun while you’re teaching us something, which I really appreciate. How important is it that what you produce is sharable, and what does that mean to you?
Segal: “Ultimately, the only way to get and reach a huge audience on social media today is to create something that makes people say, ‘Oh wow,’ in some way. To yield and claim an ‘oh wow’ type of reaction, you have to generally give them a surprising counterintuitive or really harrowing fact, and thesis of some sort, which they then manifest their surprise or their inspiration or their excitement or their shock at what you tell them through the notion of sharing.
So shareability is key in order to drive awareness and bring in a bigger following. You have to go into your story with a question of what’s interesting first versus what’s sharable. You could argue people want to share, but ultimately what we’ve realized drives shareability is, it has to yield that ‘oh wow’ reaction and that’s what we try to go for on most of these videos.
We don’t always get it right, by the way, but at times we try to say, ‘What’s the most “oh wow” statistic about extreme weather? What’s the most “oh wow” statistic about STDs and how they’re actually on the rise? What’s the most wowing stat about STDs or factoid that we could zero in on as our kernel or angle or peg into the story?’â€
TV GOODNESS: And how do you choose who will host the episodes?
Segal: “We have a great crew of well-known digital creators who are hosting these. That includes everyone ranging from Hannah Stocking and Juanpa Zurita who are big, big Instagram stars with tens of millions of followers to people like Gigi Gorgeous and Trae Crowder who are YouTube and Facebook stars with big multimillion person followings — all of whom have built digital audiences around things ranging from their lifestyle content to their comedy to their political commentary.
We’re using them as the influencers and creators of the future to really communicate important information through. Weâ€™re a big believer in using influencers to relay important information because people are already listening to them. Trying to get people to listen to someone who they’re not necessarily innately or quickly attracted to listen to is a much tougher and taller order.
We do our best to bring in these influencers and creators and get them to use their vast followings for the purpose-driven elements of bringing awareness, ideally, to something that is important or necessary to know.”
TV GOODNESS: Are there any other topics that are coming up that you can preview?
Segal: “We have something in the works around Halloween that will be timely and interesting and maybe something in the works around the election.”
TV GOODNESS: I feel like you guys are making some good noise in the world with this show.
Segal: “Good. We’re trying hard. Weâ€™re trying to do it in a way that’s not obnoxious but also entertaining.”
Edited for space and content.
New episodes of Undivided ATTN: premiere Saturdays on Facebook Watch.
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