On Sunday, David Carr profiled The Awl, a news and culture site started by two former Gawker-ites. One of the co-founders, Choire Sicha, tells Carr: "Writers who work on the Web are taught to flee whenever the guy from business side comes around. But we can build all the nice little audiences we want, somebody has to figure out how to explain to advertisers where the value is.”
Well, we know one obvious place where the business side has found value: lady sites. Gawker, Salon, Slate, AOL, and Yahoo! have all opened up women's "channels" or "verticals." Hence today's debut of the newest Awl spin-off: The Hairpin.
When Slate joined the party (albeit briefly, Double X closed shop seven months later) last May, Ann Friedman argued women's sites were bad for the medium. "[H]ow, in 2009, does an editor decide which articles are of particular concern to women, and therefore more appropriate on Double X?"
It puts women writers in the weird position of being encouraged to flog stories "over on that women's site" and helps eclipse those who are writing and editing for a mainstream, or non-lady-specific, audience. (As former Jezebel editor Anna Holmes noted today on Twitter, Gawker's sci-fi site, io9, was conceived and is run by a woman.)
The Hairpin's editor, Edith Zimmerman, is unquestionably someone you should trust with your spare internet time. (Go read her blog, particularly the fiction section.) And her irregular column at The Awl, "Letters to Editors of Women's Magazines" was possibly the best thing The Awl has ever published. So, yeah, I get that she's the right person to spin off a new site. And good on Ann Taylor for funding small-audience media. (It's not Ann Taylor's only attempt to get hip with the youngs. Check out their art-blogger project.)
Thanks for all the awesome tips! I particularly enjoyed the tip about poking my eyes out with a safety pin. At first I was like "Maybe I shouldn't," but then I did, and it's definitely given me a new perspective. As in, no perspective, because now I am blind. Kudos!