A chat with BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski

Matt K. Lewis | Senior Contributor

Andrew Kaczynski is an interesting cat. (Pun intended.)

I wanted to know a little more about him, so I invited him to come on my podcast (listen to our full conversation here), and he graciously accepted.

Despite his Twitter fights with some prominent conservatives, Kaczynski actually started off as a Republican operative, interning for the RNC during the 2010 cycle, and later interning for couple of Republican Congressman.

During this time, he developed the hobby of watching countless hours of videos of politicians, and posting them on YouTube. But this also created a bit of an identity crisis for him. The problem was that, in watching all these videos (and interning in Congress), Kaczynski discovered that most of the politicians flip-flopped on issues. What is more, staffers were expected to adopt their bosses evolving positions.

This disenchanted Kaczynski, leading him to pursue journalism instead of politics. “It kind of turned me off to the political process,” he confessed.

Kaczynski landed a gig in journalism by chance. As a sort of hobby to educate himself, he started watching countless hours of video.  Whenever he stumbled on something newsworthy, he would send it to blogs, via their tip boxes. (This is how he met BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith, who was then at Politico.)

Over time, his methods became more sophisticated. “I found out how to use Google archives and Google News and Google Magazine searches,” he said. But ultimately, he says it’s about putting the time in: “If you’re really looking for something…you just have to watch hours of video.”

Today, Kaczynski is a popular reporter and Twitter presence, who still uses the techniques that got him his job. “I probably watched every speech Chuck Hagel gave…between like 2005 when YouTube came into existence — and 2012,” he said.

Even when he doesn’t discover something newsworthy, Kazynski believes the investment of time still pays off. “If you don’t find anything you at least get to know who they are — and it puts you in a better position to write about them,” Kaczynski averred.

(Oh yeah, we also talked about cats, sweater vests, and Breitbart.com.)

Listen to my full interview with Andrew Kaczynski here.

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