Business of Art Fix #34: FIRST

Welcome to the 34th “This Business of Art / Media / Web Fix,” in which I share with you things I read that I loved relating to the work I do here — online media, business, entrepreneurship, women in tech, start-ups, journalism, publishing, management, queer visibility, and so forth.


Gawker Gets Sold

Welcome to So, Univision has purchased Gawker Media, which has been up for sale since billionaire Peter Thiel financed Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against the site for publishing his sex tape. Univision already owns or owns a controlling share of The Onion, Fusion, Flama, The Root and Clickhole.  “The irony here,” writes The Nieman Lab, “which no shortage of people on Twitter gleefully pointed out, is that Fusion has been a periodic target of Gawker, which have poked fun at the site’s, shall we say, lukewarm reception with readers.” The Univision deal, however, does not include Nick Denton.

Peter Thiel took a minute to write an op-ed for The New York Times about why he funded the lawsuit and his hope for the future of online privacy. Apparently Gawker outed him in 2007, which is not cool, but also, Thiel is an asshole who endorsed Donald Trump, so.

Little Things, “the leading lifestyle destination for inspiring, uplifting, and engaging content for women across generations,” offered $10 million for Jezebel alone, but the site seems to be remaining part of the Gawker Media package sold to Univision. I’d never heard of Little Things, but according to its own self, it’s super-popular and famous. The site, co-founded by two men, is unimpressive and my visit made me confused about the world.

Here’s how the auction worked.


This Business of Online Media

+ So The Chronicle of Higher Education published a thing about Erasing the Pop Culture Scholar, One Click at a Time, which basically aims to discuss how online pop culture writers often think they have new ideas that are not new ideas because they’ve already been dissected and named and discussed in academic journals. This was an interesting angle to me, as I became interested in pop culture criticism as a young(er) person partially from reading Bitch Magazine but mostly from taking Sociology classes during undergrad. I still have those coursepacks, I still collect anthologies of academic pop culture writing — and I do this ’cause as the writers of this piece admit to, their work is often inaccessible and behind paywalls! As Laur M. Jackson writes for The Awl, “As someone who writes for the internet in part to subsidize overpriced living on a undersized stipend in a field that may not even exist by the next time I emerge from the stacks, I am very much ambivalent about the fate of a scholarship that won’t give a fuck about what I have to say the second my proxy access expires.”

I love research, and I love rounding out my points with stacks of citations. I over-cite and over-quote, usually. But the internet doesn’t leave much room for that style of writing, as Jackson talks about in “Out of Cite,” because there is this need to be First, or a need to forego a project altogether rather than risk coming at it too late. But Jackson rides that point onto another even more important point — what she calls “citation as a loving practice.” We may not have access to academic journals, but we do have access to other things people have written on the internet and we really should take advantage of that, especially when it’s marginalized voices we’re silencing by failing to do our due diligence. Jackson explains how the work of black women, particularly, seems especially vulnerable to being ignored, un-cited, undervalued and straight-up plagiarized. And now rather than scooping up her words and giving them to you here I will suggest you go read them over there. If you read one thing today, let it be that!

+ NPR is shutting down the comments section on its story pages ’cause it’s barely used and when it’s used it’s not by people who are “wholly representative of the overall NPR audience.”

+ A day in the life of the man who handles celebrity booking for Hearst. Celebrities, man!

Millennials love CNN! Maybe that’s ’cause it’s always on at Planet Fitness.

+ The Wall Street Journal is snazzing up their paywall situation with guest passes and expanded link-sharing on social. That sounds neat and complicated.

+ Ariana Huffington is leaving The Huffington Post to start “Thrive Global, a new lifestyle, health and wellness site.” Also, The Huffington Post is having a mid-life crisis.

+ Different types of clickbait headlines: which ones do readers hate the most???

+ Millennials like to read longform ’cause they like to learn stuff

I should read this.

These are the top U.S. Media Publishers in July 2016. Somehow we didn’t make the cut, I’m not sure what happened there.

+ The Advocate won five awards from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association this year.


Businesswoman’s Special

+ people quit their jobs when they feel like their friends have better jobs

+ scripts for talking to your boss when you’re being overworked

+ how to stay motivated when everyone else is on vacation

+ strategies for leading teams of freelancers

+ should we all move to small towns and start businesses?


We Want Your Writing

Hello! It’s been a while since I included a call for submissions in the B of A fix, but here goes: we’re looking for personal essays that tell really good stories — the kind of stories that have a beginning, a middle and an end and that keep you glued to the page to find out how the story ends. Specifically we are looking for essays like this from women of color. You can submit here.

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2697 articles for us.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting the Chronicle of Higher Education article! As an academic, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to keep the what I do relevant in a world infatuated with the idea of “disruption.” I think one of the most valuable things that my students can learn is that all knowledge is built on prior knowledge, and that incremental discoveries and insights are not only important but necessary.

    I know it’s not quite the same situation, but the piece made me think something I read earlier this week [1]. We want people engaged with our ideas, and it’s exciting that people want to think about the things that excite us! At the same time, it’s so frustrating to feel like people aren’t engaging with the body of knowledge that’s out there. And yeah, we often wall ourselves in with difficult language and paywalls and plenty of other things. But I think sometimes these barriers seem larger than they are. The way I see it, my job is to engage with the world, and do something to help make sense of it, not wall myself in.

    [1] https://aeon.co/ideas/what-i-learned-as-a-hired-consultant-for-autodidact-physicists

  2. Really great round-up today, thanks Riese! That pop culture academics article was fantastic, I shared it on twitter and got some cool feedback. I studied communication theory in the humanities so it was right down my alley with the Althusser mentions.

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