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Posts Tagged ‘Alex Balk’

Awl Spoof Inspires Ex-Journo to Teach Dogs How to Use iPads

The above headline is not a joke, even though The Awl article that inspired it was.

Kelly Faircloth, picking up on her earlier BetaBeat item and a report this week by The Today Showexplains that once-upon-a-time New York Observer colleague Anna Jane Grossman is currently involved with a business that teaches dogs how to use iPads, so that these pampered canines can more effectively engage with their owners. And that’s not the funniest part.

As Today revealed, Grossman got the iPad learning idea from a January 2011 spoof (pictured) written for The Awl by David Parker. Gag article, meet real-life spin off.

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Has the New York Post’s Strauss-Kahn Victim Coverage Gone Too Far?

It’s not just the French writers who can be accused of demonstrating a chilling lack of sympathy to the accuser in the Dominique Struass-Kahn sexual assault case. New York Post, which we generally appreciate for its lovably outrageous reporting, can cross the line every now and then. Tom McGeveran at Capital New York looks at today’s headline: “HOTEL MAID IN HIV SHOCK”.

This is the gist of the story, summarized by McGeveran:

[I]t reveals that she was living in an apartment organized for her by the charity Harlem United, which places people with H.I.V. and AIDS in rent-assisted housing. The sum of the importance of this fact, which does not establish that the alleged victim is H.I.V.-positive, is the suggestion that the accused sex criminal “may have more to worry about than a possible prison sentence” because, “[according] to the federal Centers for Disease Control: ‘It is possible for either partner to become infected with HIV through performing or receiving oral sex.’” This, in the mind of the Post, qualifies as a “shock.”

This seems monstrous. As Alex Balk at The Awl writes: “I am filled with ineffable rage over the whole thing.” But McGeveran, more cynical than we are, warns us not to get too outraged just yet:

Perhaps worse is yet to come: They do not yet ask the police whether rubber gloves were used by officers attending to the alleged victim. There’s always tomorrow!

The Awl Turns Two

Two years ago today, Choire Sicha, David Cho and Alex Balk launched The Awl, and the eclectic website keeps getting better with each passing day. It’s a site that all of New York media has celebrated, and rightfully so.

If you’re one of the few who haven’t visited the site, do yourself a favor and check it out. Oh, and while you’re there, wish them a happy birthday. But don’t sing. We’ve heard your voice and though we think it’s beautiful, others might not recognize it right away.

The Awl is Going to Start Paying Writers…Money

Yes, we all missed our chance to suck up to Choire Sicha and Alex Balk. We could have worked for free all these years and look where we’d be now. Damn.

Seriously, this is some of the best news we’ve seen all year. The Great Recession doesn’t even come close to describing the slaughter fest journalists have endured in the last three years. We keep on searching for signs that it’s getting better. And while this is not exactly the LAT hiring hundreds of people, The Awl paying people shows that someone can start something and pay people eventually. It makes us suspect (maybe) the darkest (at least) has passed.

Just a couple thousand more Awls and we’ll be solid.

Joe Pompeo at Yahoo News writes:

The Awl, Choire Sicha and Alex Balk’s irreverent and idiosyncratic 2-year-old journalism start-up, will as of Jan. 1 start paying the writers who have helped turn the site into a culture and media must-read with half a million monthly visitors.

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Esquire Wants To Increase Web Presence

If you build it, they will come. That mantra worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams (because playing catch with the ghost of your dead dad isn’t weird at all) and it appears Eric Gillin, Director of Hearst Digital Media’s Men’s Network, is hoping that it works for as well. In an interview with Joe Pompeo at The Cutline, Gillin was frank about his goals for the site:

Bet on us producing more stories that grab people. We want to become the first thing that you check in on.

Gillin knows a thing or two about web presence. He was the former Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of The Black Table, a witty blog that ended in 2006, which featured early writing from people like Alex Balk of The Awl and New York magazine’s Will Leitch. Now overseeing, Gillin’s first step toward boosting readership was to bring on Foster Kamer, FishbowlNY’s biggest fan.

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Gawker’s Servers Struggle|Iranian Detainees Have San Fran Roots|The Awl Celebrates 1M|AP Managing Editors Honor Public Service|Luke Russert Answers Essential Questions

Video: “Jon & Kate + 8″ is back on the air tonight after a short hiatus. Will you be watching?

AgencySpy: Gawker‘s sites have been having issues. Possible causes: server issues, heavy traffic or an attack, possibly from irate Scientologists. Just a theory.

BayNewser: Two of the three Americans detained in Iran Friday have Bay Area connections. Both Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd are journalists who have written for Sandy Close‘s New America Media.

Gawker: The Awl, the latest Web project by Gawker alums Choire Sicha and Alex Balk has logged one million visitors since its launch in April. Congrats!

Associated Press: The Associated Press Managing Editors Association awarded a public service award to The Seattle Times today, for its work uncovering hundreds of MRSA-related deaths that had never been revealed to families or the public. The Virgin Islands Daily News in St. Thomas and the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky. also received prizes in the lower circulation categories.

Mediaite: Five quick questions with media scion Luke Russert. Our favorite answer was his optimistic take on the future of journalism: “Whatever happens I just feel lucky to be in the business at the dawn of a new era.”

Maer Roshan to

biz034a.jpgThe Radar refugees are resurfacing. Aaron Gell signed on as editor-in-chief of Hemispheres. Choire Sicha, Alex Balk and David Cho launched And now Maer Roshan, the man at the top of the thrice-failed magazine, has a new full-time gig. Buried at the bottom of Keith Kelly‘s column today comes the news that Roshan will join as editor.

The Week, brought to the United States by Felix Dennis after the magazine was a huge hit in England, saw its ad pages jump 42 percent in the first quarter of 2009 (or 19 percent, depending on your source). Given the struggles of other newsweeklies, Roshan looks to be in a good situation.

Choire Sicha Happily Unaware of’s Traffic

theawl04.22.09.jpgEarlier this week, Choire Sicha and Alex Balk launched to mostly positive acclaim. Has the press’ lovefest led to strong traffic?

Sicha, for one, has no idea. “You know, I have actually *never looked* at our traffic,” he emailed this morning. “I leave that in David Cho‘s capable hands; he’s our business guy, and that stuff is his problem. I am just trying to have a good time, and that itself is our stated goal.”

Given the site’s other stated goal of avoiding linkbait, we suspect traffic isn’t the most important metric but we asked Cho for his thoughts anyway:

Traffic may not be the most important metric, but it’s obviously one of the few base statistics that we have to gauge how people are responding to the site other than friends wishing us well and random strangers who that happen to email the notes@theawl line. That being said, two days of traffic is hardly a sample size from which we can draw any real judgments. Personally, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the numbers — especially the repeat traffic we’ve seen — through the first couple of days, but, again, it’s nothing we can hang our hat on or extrapolate from yet.

He added that the goals of the site are “to secure funding and then eventually create a lean and cash positive business,” and that “none of us want to make a site that we’re not proud of, so it’s all about figuring out a way to effectively monetize the audience that they’re building.”

The “if you build it, they will come,” business model, anyone?

Awl Together Now: Balk and Choire Launch a Website

header-logo.jpgRumors that former Gawker-ers (and RadarOnline-ers) Alex Balk and Choire Sicha had some sort of secret project in the works have been flying around for a while now. Turns out the rumors were true. The Awl went live today.

What if there were a website that zippily surveyed a wealth of resonant, weird, important, frightening, amusing bits of news and ideas? And what if it weren’t totally clogged with reality show linkbait?

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Radar Folding? [Updated] Magazine Folds, AMI Purchases Website

radarfold.pngGawker is reporting (and FBNY has also heard separately from sources within) that Maer Roshan‘s multiply-launched magazine Radar is folding. The magazine, which pubbed at varying degrees of frequency, and was rumored to have been funded (at least in its later incarnations) by Ron Burkle, never really gave the impression that it was on solid ground. So in the current economic environment the news comes as no real suprise.

However! The Website (a completely different animal run by former Gawker Alex Balk) was, in our modest opinion, a must-read. And we not only will be sorry to see its demise but are amazed that the powers that be are shutting it down. The NYO is reporting “there might a business arrangement to keep the web site afloat and that it will be sold to AMI.” One can hope. Stay tuned.

Update: Hooray! (We think). Looks like the NYO had it right and AMI is indeed purchasing radaronline. Full press release after the jump. But wait! On second glance this part of the press release is quite worrisome for those of us who enjoy our Daily Intelligence just the way it is:

Chairman and CEO David Pecker said that David Perel, Executive Vice President of AMI News, will leave that position to become managing editor of RadarOnline. At AMI, Mr. Perel was responsible for breaking many of the biggest celebrity stories of the past two decades.

Also, the release makes it sound like they are interested in turning the site into some sort of online National Enquirer (also owned by AMI). One imagines if The Daily Beast has their wits about them they will quickly go on some sort of hiring spree.

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