Welcome to The Awl, the last weblog.
The Awl was started in 2009, at least four internets ago. It was edited by Alex Balk and Choire Sicha. It is now edited by Matt Buchanan and John Herrman. Its prior mission statement read as follows:
We believe that there is a great big Internet out there on which we all live, and that too often the curios and oddities of that Internet are ignored in favor of the most obvious and easy stories. We believe that there is an audience of intelligent readers who are poorly served by being delivered those same stories in numbing repetition to the detriment of their reading diet. We believe that there is no topic unworthy of scrutiny, so long that it is approached from an intelligent angle, but that there are many topics worthy of scrutiny that lack coverage because of commercial factors. We believe that the longform essay has a home on the Internet, and that the idea of “too long; didn’t read” is exactly as shortsighted as its TL;DR acronym.
This does not mean that we eschew frivolity; far from it. Who doesn’t enjoy a funny video, a current meme, or anything about bears? We love bears. And Science!
In the end, however, we return most frequently to New York City and its self-centered, all-consuming industries: media and publishing, finance and real estate, politics and capitalism and gamesmanship.
Most of these sentences still apply, except the whole #longform thing—now all the bad things are twice as long. (Also lmao “current meme.”) The Awl was and is a site that publishes things only because we think that they are good or smart or funny or weird or interesting or surprising (or, especially, all of those things!), and that other reasonable people might enjoy them too.
The Awl has editors, but it runs on pitches. So please: Pitch. Pitch thoughtful reported pieces and incisive essays and deep cultural criticism and odd character studies and deep dives on off topics and poems and jokes and profiles and weird, unexpected content fragments and things that you think are too strange to publish. Pitch them all. We will work with you on difficult pieces. We don’t care about word count. We pay. Not much, but as much as we can, and as much (and often more?) than many much richer publishing and internet concerns.
(We should take a moment to note that The Awl receives the most pitches from the people who pitch the most—the same people who flood every open submissions box on the internet: dudes. Mostly white ones who are young but not that young, probably already working in the media or possibly in grad school, who have been taught from a very young age that not only do their voices deserve to be heard, but that people are waiting for them to speak. [And yet, why so loud, still?] And, sometimes, sure. But, very often, the people who are the most convinced that they and their work are a perfect fit for The Awl should strongly consider why they feel that way; nearly as often, the people who have convinced themselves that they don’t deserve to be here are the ones who should be pitching.)
We will read and respond (to everything, though sometimes it takes a while and sometimes it gets caught in a spam filter, sorry, it’s Google, not us) and work. Do not assume that we won’t publish you, or that your work somehow doesn’t fit. There’s a good chance we’re dying to publish you and we don’t know it yet. Don’t throw your writing into some anonymous mega-site’s bottomless content hole for free. Throw it in ours, for some money!
Our hole is located at email@example.com. You can also just say hello, we read it all.
The Awl Network’s publisher is Michael Macher, and you are welcome to contact him regarding any sort of business activity, including advertising and other opportunities for your brand. You may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Awl Network is independently owned and operated. It has no venture capital backing nor any outside investment whatsoever.
(An “awl,” by the way, is a “pointed tool used for punching small holes,” often utilized in wood and leather craft. Here is how you pronounce the word “awl,” both with UK and US accents. Finally, our motto, “Be Less Stupid,” is intended with some humor.)
Thanks again for dropping by. We appreciate it.