Posts Tagged: News

Everything You Have Needed to Know in 2014 (So Far)

Today, in the Washington Post, Eve Fairbanks asks: Could "all you need to know" be the most insidious, reductive, and lame story formula currently conquering our reading life? Everywhere you turn there’s another purported ne plus ultra explainer purporting to tell us "absolutely everything we could possibly need to know" about some current event, some curiosity of history, some deep mystery of life on Earth.

Good question! "All you need to know" can be distilled down further to the no-less-demanding formulation of "need to know." It's still just as chiding, just as exhaustive, just as needy, when you consider the full range of its implications: You are required [...]


Eleven Questions About Explainer Journalism

What is an “explainer”? There are a lot of things out there to read. Some of them are long. Many involve complex, nuanced ideas. That doesn’t have to be the case. When it is the case, it’s a failure of journalists to make news engaging and accessible. An explainer is an article that breaks down an important topic into just the things you care about and need to know. It's unlike all other kinds of articles in that way. If you still can’t understand it, that’s on us. That’s our bad.

How do I know what I care about and what I need to know? Explainers tell [...]


Why Did The Kangaroo Go To The Pharmacy?

You COULD SAY this Prison Island macropod was "distressed and far outside his normal environment" and probably needed "veterinary observation" to make sure it wasn't "suffering from some sort of" marsupial "illness." In fact, DO say it. Let everybody else make the "hopped up on" jokes. You're better than that.


Put On Headphones If You Work Around Any Elk

If a man elk lets loose an "I'm having sex with these lady elk" noise in a national park during a government shutdown does it still make a sound? It's a trick question, so think before you answer.


Newsman Displays Vintage iPad

"'This morning as Simon McCoy was preparing to introduce this story, instead of picking up his tablet to hold as he went to air, he mistakenly picked up a ream of paper that was sitting next to it,' said a spokeswoman for BBC News. 'In the rush of live news, he didn’t have an opportunity to swap the items, so simply went with it.' Mr McCoy has previously been seen on screen briefly resting his head on his desk when the [...]


What Will They Name That Baby, And How Empty Is Your Life If You Actually Care?

Here's a reminder from the people at NBC that news was just as vapid and useless three decades ago as it is now, so don't feel too bad, I guess.


Calendar Full Of Violence

April, according to NBC, is "a painful and unforgettably violent month in this country's history." Other painful and unforgettably violent months in this country's history include January, February and March, in addition to May, June and July. Sadly, we would be remiss if we did not mention August, September, October and November in this grouping as well. Also: December.


Change Comes From Within Website

We are flipping the polarity here today, give or take. From now on, we—your faithful Awl servants Alex Balk and Choire Sicha—will be answering to the new editors of The Awl, Matt Buchanan and John Herrman. They will now officially be in charge, and will begin finding their way. They will make the decisions. We will take our demotion to feature writers and guest editors in stride.

Do you want to have a word with them? You can reach us all at notes @

Later today, give or take a day, you know how we are, the masthead will change. Alex's new title will likely [...]


No, BuzzFeed Did Not Invent Native Advertising

News curmudgeons relish blaming the internet for things they don’t like, a pastime that is maddening, a little sad, and just ironic. These people who fetishize print media's past are often selective in their memories of it.

For instance, BuzzFeed didn't invent coverage of silly animals, and it certainly didn't invent native advertising—that is, advertising with a narrative structure that mirrors surrounding editorial content. (You might also call this “sponsored content" or “advertorial.")

Much of the recent media chatter about native ads makes it sound as though sponsored content was just invented. But what we now call native advertising has deep roots in print journalism—as do [...]


Well That Happened

There’s never a bad time for some editorializing, right?

— Erik Malinowski (@erikmal) October 3, 2013


You Won't Believe The Amazing Stunt This Guy Is Attempting

In this remarkable feat of bravery against the odds, a daredevil attempts the greatest challenge of all: He struggles to wend his way through an obstacle course of tragedy, sorrow and regret, with each choice he makes culminating in a banquet of recrimination and providing a future consisting mainly of even more unpleasant options from which to select, knowing the whole time that the only end result is his own demise, adding even more sadness to the lives of those he loves and upon whom he has already piled unimaginable anguish, all the while under the impression that his intentions were good. Oh, wait, this is a dude skydiving [...]


iPads For Dogs

"A couple of years ago, Anna Jane Grossman read a spoof article on the website The Awl about a teenage girl who was building up her resume for college applications and was struck by one detail; among the descriptions of organic ibex farming and studying Chinese, the high school student was teaching her dog how to use an iPad. 'It was not real. But I was like, "Oh, I can teach my dog how to use the iPad!"' Grossman, who had recently left journalism to pursue dog [...]


Morning Show Runs Awesome Supercut Of Idiot Teens Coughing Up Cinnamon

"It's a trend—thanks to peer pressure, and the Internet."


News Finally Replaced By Zombie Show Blog Recap

The day was long coming, but it's still okay for bloggers to feel a little bit proud this morning: The "Top Stories" on Google News on this busy Monday morning lead with a blog recap of "The Walking Dead." Stick that in your nuclear missiles, North Korean guy!

If you needed some "hard news," the next top story of the moment is "On Easter Sunday, Google Honors Cesar Chavez, Not Jesus."


Masturbating Journalist Assertion Clarified

"I ought to correct the record: I said 'masturbatory', not 'masturbating'. Glad that’s cleared up."


Get Up To Speed On The Issues Behind The British Badger Cull

I am not going to pretend that many of you have either the time or the inclination to watch a five-and-a-half minute news story about the forces arrayed for and against a badger cull in Britain, but for those of you who do you are in for a fascinating five-plus minutes. There is something about the variety of human passion on display here that will make you look at our species with a mixture of pity and admiration. For the rest of you, here is a story about an alligator who kept triggering the automatic doors outside an Orlando Wal-Mart. Watch what you want, I won't judge.


Ineffable Sadness Of Life In These United States Finds Expression In Form Of Local Texas News Story About Proper Attire For McDonald's Diners

Somehow it is not even Friday yet.


Terrible Thing Appropriately Located

I guess the positive way to look at this is that the aliens are probably like, "You know what? Let's just skip that one and take over some other planet."


"Teens" Using "Social Media" For "Rides"

"Some kids no longer dream about getting a new car. Instead, they dream about getting the latest smartphone." Kids! Who understands them?


Is Your Social Media Editor Destroying Your News Organization Today?

FALSE REPORT>>> RT@thematthewkeys: Just in: Suspect 2 on the ground at gunpoint.

— Mike Hayes (@michaelhayes) April 19, 2013

…perhaps if I was in a real newsroom with access to my work email, instead of shut out a month ago, I wouldn't be working out of a bedroom

— Matthew Keys (@TheMatthewKeys) April 19, 2013

"The important thing, I think, is to—as soon as you know something that you sent out is incorrect, you correct the record. And it's OK, I think, to make mistakes in these circumstances. You—everyone will make mistakes, and it's kind of almost impossible to avoid them." —Slate's social [...]