Weeknotes 42: When the end of the line is in sight.

The big news of the week is our Kickstarter campaign for the next issue of Anxy. We’ve found Kickstarter to be a really solid and productive way of generating early support and new orders—helping us offset the printing costs—and so we’re back again. This time around, the magazine includes some awesome pieces that I’m very proud of: Carvell Wallace interviewing Terry Crews; Johnetta Elzie in conversation with Karamo Brown; a long-view partnership with MEL which I think will be deeply insightful over the next few months. And that’s just the beginning: You can contribute to the campaign here.

The final…


Weeknotes 39: Keeping momentum is achievable… if you let your brain trick itself.

One of the most difficult aspects of the work I do is gauging progress. Lots of the toughest times I’ve had in previous jobs have been during the push — the intense and nearly-always-longer-than-you’d-like period before launching a project, where you are struggling to get the sense of accomplishment. Relaunching Matter was a swirl of conflicting feelings, with anticipation and confidence and terror locked in battle with each other. …


Weeknotes 38: The past comes back to poke us in the eye.

Andy Baio takes the stage at XOXO 2018. Photograph by Tom Coates (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Live long enough in a job and you’ll see everything get resurrected, reapproached, or regurgitated. No idea is original, we’re told, and it is true… more or less. But what usually does change is the timing, the context, and the way it’s delivered.

This past week brought up a lot of feelings about this. There was XOXO 2018, the festival of digital creativity in Portland that occupied my weekend. I bumped into lots of new people, and it was exciting, but seeing some former coworkers — as well as running into folks I got to know a decade or more…


Weeknote 34: I quit Twitter.

Returning from a holiday is always a readjustment — a slow build towards regaining a sense of normality. As I get older, and maybe as I find myself working alone more, I am drawn to routines that help me marshal my time and energy. Going back to work means shaking hands with those routines, finding the pleasure and the freedom inside them.

That means last week was about saying hello to day-to-day life again: doing the admin work, looking at old processes, instituting new ones. Weeknotes like this, perhaps, are one of the things I want to introduce. I admire…


Publishers are already in a spiral of dependence on Facebook’s traffic — and now it’s coming direct from ads by the subjects of their stories.

I spotted something happening recently in my Facebook feed that has me chin-scratching. Take a look. Maybe it’s not new, but it feels new to me.


There are lots of people of my acquaintance who have known Milo for a long time, through his many shape-shifting phases.

Many of them have pardoned him a range of sins and excesses —transgressions which go back a very long way, perhaps all the way to the beginning — perhaps because they see common enemies, such as groupthink or thought policing or political correctness, or because they find his rhetoric to be entertaining, amusingly florid or usefully controversialist.

But really I suspect some people have given him a pass because he flattered and pandered to them, usually by playing into…


Why you need to edit with humility.

Photo by Jarito on Flickr, shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license

Whatever type of publication they work for, editors—like the journalists, authors and creators they work with—are always scouring the world for ideas. They read books, they sift through the broader media, they study research and dig into journals, they talk with sources and experts, they purloin other people’s concepts and remake for their own. And they probably listen to lots of pitches.

And sometimes—quite often, as it goes—they have ideas of their own.

Thing is, when an editor has an idea, they can get really attached to it. I know I do. Sometimes that’s for good reason: An editor is…


Kaushik Narasimhan on Flickr, CC 2.0 by license

Preparation, preparation, preparation.

Over the last few years, as I’ve spent more time editing longer and more in-depth features, I’ve had to revisit some of the fundamental techniques of editing. When I started out I was working on daily and weekly cycles, usually driven by hard news. The world of longform has different demands, so I had to learn some new approaches. Only afterwards did it dawn on me that some of these techniques would have been really useful in the past.

1. Spend most of your time up front


A job that media depends on, but nobody ever really wants to talk about.

Most of what you hear about editors essentially falls into a small handful of categories: the brilliant, the mysterious, the macho.

Each of them comes with a catalog of stories of wisdom, weirdness, and derring-do: the bravado, the cool head under pressure, magnetic, charismatic, the swearing, the drinking. Probably the swearing and the drinking.

It’s Ben Bradlee, whose balls of steel helped take down a president.

It’s Anna Wintour, whose fiery Gaze of Disdain burns through even the blackest sunglasses and directly into the souls of fledgling fashionistas.

Bobbie Johnson

Causing trouble since 1978. Former lives at Medium, Matter, the Guardian.

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