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Posts Tagged ‘The Awl’

Former EW Employees Point to Three Cover Stories

JewelEWCoverStory1999Great #longread over at The Awl by Anne Helene Petersen. In retracing the rise and semi-fall of Entertainment Weekly, she discovered that three cover stories stood out in the minds of former employees as notable examples of victories from the battleground of editorial integrity.

The first of these, they say, was a 1999 Jewel profile:

The story significantly compromised Jewel’s image, and when Howard Stern read extensive sections of the profile aloud on the air, it only amplified the problem. Atlantic [Records] was so furious that it refused to provide advance product or answer fact-checking queries for reviews in the magazine. Forget synergy: the two realms of the Time Warner universe weren’t even speaking.

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The Awl Hires Matt Buchanan from The New Yorker [Updated]

TheAwlLogoIt’s a big day for The Awl. The site, which began looking for a new editor months ago, might have finally found one in Matt Buchanan, who left The New Yorker to come aboard. One doesn’t just leave The New Yorker without the promise of something big, do they? As of now, there’s no word on exactly what Buchanan will be doing at The Awl.

Further muddying the waters is the fact that John Herrman is joining Buchanan at The Awl. As Capital New York notes, Buchanan and Herrman worked together at BuzzFeed’s tech vertical, and both are former Gizmodo editors.

Maybe Buchanan isn’t The Awl’s new editor, and he’s teaming up with Herrman to launch a new tech site for The Awl? Or maybe Buchanan is The Awl’s new editor and Herrman is heading up the new tech site by himself? Or maybe they were both hired because they make excellent smoothies???

Those are all legitimate questions. We’re reached out to Choire Sicha, The Awl’s founder, for answers. We’ll update when we hear back.

Update (10:08 am):
Sicha, in a note on The Awl, explained that Buchanan and Herrman will both be running The Awl, starting next month. There will not be a tech vertical. Click through for Sicha’s full memo.

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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The Awl Launches Awl Music

The New York Observer is reporting that The Awl has expanded once again. This time it has launched Awl Music, a radio/video site. It’s kind of confusing, we know. Basically it’s a music site that shows videos, curated by the Awl’s staff, guest DJs and Eric Spiegelman.

You can also skip songs like when you’re listening to a CD (we’re old!); if you’re not feeling Kate Bush or whoever happens to show up when you navigate to the site, that is.

“We’re getting the jump on The Future here, when we all have Google TVs or whatever. But really? It’s totally just for fun and giggles, and uses a dreamy interface,” said Choire Sicha, in an email explaining the project.

David Cho Leaves The Awl for Grantland

According to The New York Observer, David Cho, Publisher of The Awl, is stepping down. He will be moving on to Grantland, but details are hazy as to what he’ll be doing for the website.

Cho said in an email, “The opportunity at Grantland and to work with Bill [Simmons] and to work with some of the people at ESPN is the only job that ever could have made me even consider leaving what Choire and Alex and myself have built at The Awl.”

Jane Pratt’s Website Off to a Rough Start

Yesterday Jane Pratt launched her new website, xojane.com, and just as we expected, the beginning was a little rough around the edges. As Maura Johnston at the Village Voice points out, there was a piece longing for more female singer-songwriters, even though there’s actually plenty of those on the radio if one actually listens. Johnston rattles off a few names of artists in her criticism of the xojane article, but her reply to a commenter sums it up well:

This bit of dreck kind of reminds me of a piece I recently read that was all, ‘WHERE ARE THE DARIAS ON TV NOW?’ that should have really been titled ‘Nobody is telling me about the snarky smart women on tv and I can’t exactly be arsed to go FIND them.’ Just lazy lazy lazy, especially when you have, I don’t know, the WHOLE INTERNET in front of you. And no, Jane, your edits don’t help. They only call attention to the amateurism.

Boom!

Johnston and Choire Sicha at The Awl came right out and nailed xojane, but The Hairpin – one of xojane’s competitors – posted a flimsy welcome to at least act like it was excited about the content on the new site. But shockingly enough, the commentors on The Hairpin weren’t too pleased with xojane either.

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The Awl’s David Cho Comments on Anniversary, State of New York Media

Yesterday was The Awl’s second anniversary, and late last night, one of its founders, David Cho, took to his Tumblr to discuss the accomplishment. It was a rare moment from Cho because, as he notes, the people behind the site have purposely avoided the self-congratulatory tone that has taken over the Internet:

What I mean to say is that the current rules in place to win at having a New York internet publishing entity are stupid and wrong, both in terms of perceived and actual success.

For the former, perceived success, it’s all about getting attention and talking about how great you are, all of the things that I said I hated above. It’s not about actually doing anything, or building an audience, or making money, it’s about interacting with a lot of insufferable people who overvalue their own importance and want other people who overvalue their own importance to write about their collective overvalued importance.

“Stupid and wrong,” might be the best way to describe New York media that we’ve ever heard. Present company excluded, of course.

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.

Sheila McClear, New York Post Features Writer: Gawker is 20-Something Version of CNN

The Awl runs a recurring item called “Random New Yorker,” and the most recent one features an interview with Sheila McClear, a features writer for the New York Post. McClear speaks about a variety of things, like what her job is like and how Vince Neil is the coolest person she’s ever interviewed.

McClear worked for Gawker before coming to the Post, and her comments about it – and blogging in general – are the most interesting part of the interview. She says blogging is fine, but that it shouldn’t be any writer’s final goal. McClear does credit Gawker with teaching her how to stick to deadlines, but also says she rarely reads the website anymore, adding, “I kind of feel when I go to Gawker now I’m going to the twenty-something version of CNN.com.” In other words, a news site for people who want to know just enough about current events to make fun of them.

Gawker Values Uniques For 2010

gawker logo.jpgAfter cutting back in 2008, Gawker Media rebounded in 2009. And as revenues climbed, Nick Denton reinstated pageview bonuses and even decided to offer his writers a full-time employment option.

But it seems that wasn’t enough for Denton. Today, in a memo sent to Gawker’s staff, obtained by The Awl, Denton explained the company’s move to tracking unique pageviews in the U.S., and using that as the benchmark for bloggers moving forward. Uniques are an important metric, as Denton explained, and now any bonuses will be based on each of Gawker’s blog’s ability to surpass a unique hits target that is an average of all uniques from 2009.

As Denton told his staff:

“So we’re shifting to a new number that more accurately reflects the growth of our audience. This target will encourage original reporting and original thought. The system will reward sites which recruit new readers rather than pandering to a well-established clique. Our editorial will be better as a result.”

Whether this change will affect how Gawker’s writers are paid or how much bonuses they receive remains to be seen, since Denton adds that “distribution of the bonus pool will be at the discretion of the site’s editor-in-chief.” But will it actually help foster original content and thought on the blogs?

Read more of the memo here.

Previously: Gawker Offers Writers Full-Time Employment, Denton: Gawker Revenues Actually Up 45 Percent This Year, With A 35 Percent Increase In Ad Revenues, Gawker Reinstates Pageview Bonuses

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