• July 10, 2015

    go set a watchmanSince Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman comes out next week (and you can read the first chapter, or indeed have Reese Witherspoon read it to you, here), a reporter for Bloomberg Business headed to Monroeville to try to untangle the whole strange story of its provenance.

    Apparently some people are only just discovering the Awl. At the Verge, there’s an admiring profile of the site, and especially of its redheaded media/tech savants Matt Buchanan and John Herrman (formerly of Gizmodo and then Buzzfeed, they seem to come as a package deal). The Awl is presented as understanding the new realities of the web without needing to pander them—what helps with that, it seems, is to be very small and very wry. They plan one day to be the cockroach after the “content apocalypse.” “I think John tends to be ahead of these things,” Buchanan says, “because he reads them as science fiction of the present.” “That’s a lot of what the Awl does now,” Herrman chimes in. “Our entire economy is just a giant science fiction writing prompt.”

    Vice has started releasing material for its woman-focused channel, Broadly, ahead of an official launch later this summer. Its beat is announced as “sex, politics, culture, witchcraft” (guess that about covers it) and if you’re wondering what happens when Vice meets feminism, its first piece is enticingly headlined “Why Satanists are Fighting America’s Restrictive Abortion Laws.”

    It’s not just Upworthy: An AJ+ staffer (AJ+, for the uninitiated, is a digital news wing of the Al Jazeera network) describes exactly how her team planned to make their post-Charleston video go viral. They chose the topic of Southern racism after ruling out gun control “because we perceived it to be the third ranked among those talking about Charleston (and it had been done countless times before).” The video was indeed “a hit,” partly because “‘It had the N-word in the first seconds,’ one of our audience development experts pointed out.”

    Amazon will stop at nothing to make sure you don’t get to review your friends.