A Viral Short Story For The #metoo Moment
The depiction of uncomfortable romance in “Cat Person” seems to resonate with countless women.
Recent months make it seem like humanity has lost the instruction manual for its procreate function and has had to relearn it all from scratch. After scores of prominent men have been fired on sexual-assault allegations, confusion reigns about signals, how to read them, and how not to read into them. Some men are wondering if hugging women is still okay. Some male managers are inviting third parties into performance reviews in order to avoid being alone with women. One San Francisco design-firm director recently said holiday parties should be canceled, as The New York Times reported, until it has been figured out how men and women should interact.
Into this steps Cat Person, a New Yorker fiction story by Kristen Roupenian that explores how badly people can misread each other, but also how frightening and difficult sexual encounters can be for women, in particular. It isnt a story about rape or sexual harassment, but about the fine lines that get drawn in human interaction, Deborah Treisman, The New Yorkers fiction editor, told me.
Treisman said that while she was not looking for a story that touched on topical issues of sexual agency specifically, when this piece came in, she did hope to get it into the magazine sooner rather than later.
At one point, Margot goes over to Roberts house and to have sex. And then, she experiences this emotion:
Is New Yorker Good
The New Yorker:At $109 a year, The New Yorker is by far the priciest subscription on this list, but its worth every penny. The reporting is superb and the stories are compelling. It is the gold standard of news and culture magazines. And at $29.99 for four quarterly issues, it wont break the bank.
Here Are The 15 Best Short Stories You Can Read At The ‘new Yorker’
Now that the New Yorker has opened its paywalled gates for every article since 2007 for the next three months, theres never been a better time to read through its legendary archive of short stories. Since the magazines inception, its published work from some of the last centurys most important writers, including John Updike , Vladimir Nabokov, J.D. Salinger, and Alice Munro. Many of the stories are behind a paywall, but check them out if you have a subscription. Here are EWs picks for the New Yorkers best stories:
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View Of The World Cover
Saul Steinberg created 85 covers and 642 internal drawings and illustrations for the magazine. His most famous work is probably its March 29, 1976, cover, an illustration most often referred to as “View of the World from 9th Avenue“, sometimes referred to as “A Parochial New Yorker’s View of the World” or “A New Yorker’s View of the World”, which depicts a map of the world as seen by self-absorbed New Yorkers.
The illustration is split in two, with the bottom half of the image showing Manhattan‘s 9th Avenue, 10th Avenue, and the Hudson River , and the top half depicting the rest of the world. The rest of the United States is the size of the three New York City blocks and is drawn as a square, with a thin brown strip along the Hudson representing “Jersey”, the names of five cities and three states scattered among a few rocks for the United States beyond New Jersey. The Pacific Ocean, perhaps half again as wide as the Hudson, separates the United States from three flattened land masses labeled China, Japan and Russia.
The illustrationhumorously depicting New Yorkers’ self-image of their place in the world, or perhaps outsiders’ view of New Yorkers’ self-imageinspired many similar works, including the poster for the 1984 filmMoscow on the Hudson that movie poster led to a lawsuit, Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., 663 F. Supp. 706 , which held that Columbia Pictures violated the copyright that Steinberg held on his work.
How Do You Know If Youre A Real New Yorker
You know youre a New Yorker when
- You can walk past a full-grown man on the street, wearing nothing but his very small underwear, and not even bat an eye.
- Your wardrobe shifts to mostly black or dark colors.
- You rush everywhere even if you have no reason to.
- You get sidewalk rage because people walk too slowly.
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Why Facts Dont Change Our Minds
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In 1975, researchers at Stanford invited a group of undergraduates to take part in a study about suicide. They were presented with pairs of suicide notes. In each pair, one note had been composed by a random individual, the other by a person who had subsequently taken his own life. The students were then asked to distinguish between the genuine notes and the fake ones.
Some students discovered that they had a genius for the task. Out of twenty-five pairs of notes, they correctly identified the real one twenty-four times. Others discovered that they were hopeless. They identified the real note in only ten instances.
As is often the case with psychological studies, the whole setup was a put-on. Though half the notes were indeed genuinetheyd been obtained from the Los Angeles County coroners officethe scores were fictitious. The students whod been told they were almost always right were, on average, no more discerning than those who had been told they were mostly wrong.
Once formed, the researchers observed dryly, impressions are remarkably perseverant.
Even after the evidence for their beliefs has been totally refuted, people fail to make appropriate revisions in those beliefs, the researchers noted. In this case, the failure was particularly impressive, since two data points would never have been enough information to generalize from.
What Is Epic Content
The definition for long-form, epic content is hard to nail down. Do we define it by the quality? The time it took to write? The research involved? Or the length of the article?
Its not just a list of 73 ways to become a better writer or a gargantuan guide to content marketing. Those are good, but we have to take it a step further.
- Long-form content has substance. There is a drilling-down into a topic that will leave you reeling with a load of new information.
- Long-form content tells a story. The article is built on a narrative. It is the equivalent of a This American Life episode .
In How to Create Epic Content I shared seven examples of epic content:
- Ultimate guides
- Or The Death of the Boring Blog Post by Smashing Magazine
These epic articles fly in the face of conventional wisdom that says people dont want to read a lot of content on the web. Conventional wisdom says make it brief. Otherwise you get burned by the dreaded tl drToo Long Didnt Read.
But that is changing.
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How Often Is The New Yorker Delivered
Each issue is published one week prior to the cover date, and most subscribers receive it a few days after publication. For subscribers outside the United States, each issue may arrive up to two weeks after the cover date. Check on which issue was mailed to you most recently or report a delivery problem.
How We Consume Epic Content
People want epic content. Its one of the reasons that Matter could raise over $140,000 on Kickstarter to create long-form journalism on technology.
The rise of tablets, smart phones, and apps like Instapaper and Pocket have also made it easier for people to find and save articles for later reading.
In turn, websites like Longform, and The Atavist and #longreads hashtag have surfaced to help us satisfy our desire for epic content.
Its the new tools that have made this happen.
In a panel at SWXW on the Death of the Death of Longform Journalism, Evan Ratliff and Max Linsky discussed how the problem wasnt that the stories were too long. The problem was the delivery method. And now we finally have the tools to read pieces when, how, and where we wanted.
My personal favorite is Readability. With a simple Chrome extension, I save articles as I surf the web, which are also saved on my phone. And when Im stuck at the Chinese joint waiting for my Moo Goo Gai Pan I can read a great story.
That short scenario is played out millions of times a day. Lewis Dvorkin from Forbes shared this data about our new reading habits:
Perhaps not surprisingly, the data from more than 100 million articles on ReadItLater shows that consumers save articles consistently throughout the day. But heres when theyre reading it: on computers, from 6pm-9pm on iPhones, at 6am, 9am, 5pm to 6pm and 8pm-10pm and on iPads, predominantly from 8pm-10pm.
And this holds true for the business world, too.
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How The New Yorker Plans To Double Its Paid Circulation To 2 Million
The New Yorker belongs to a rare club of publications whose revenue from readers exceeds that of advertisers. Total paid circulation for the highbrow weekly rose 12.3 percent last year to 1.2 million, even as the subscription price grew 20 percent to $120 for the most popular print-digital bundle. Today, readers contribute 65 percent of the revenue.
Based on that growth and the Trump bump, which helped deliver The New Yorkers biggest month in subscription growth in January 2017, executives at the news and culture weekly and parent Condé Nast believe they can double the number of paying subscribers by 2023.
Other publishers are trying to see how far they can go to get readers to pay for content, with ad revenue flagging. Elsewhere at Condé Nast, Wired just put up a paywall, and Vanity Fair has said its planning to. The New Yorker can charge a high price because it has an especially die-hard fan base , so the lessons of its experience are limited.
It was scary to think about charging three-figure sums, said Pam McCarthy, deputy editor of The New Yorker, recalling the decision to raise the price of the bundle to $100 in 2016. Then, we thought, people in their 20s are paying for Netflix when we were embarking on this increase. And The Times success is encouraging, as well as The Washington Posts growth. The lesson of the past five years has been not to undervalue ourselves.
The New Yorkers Skycoin Saga Exposes Its Own Anti
An article recently appearing in The New Yorker magazine entitled Pumpers, Dumpers, and Shills: The Skycoin Saga, which is ostensibly an in-depth expose of the hype and hijinks employed by a crypto company founder to promote his projects token, leaves more questions than answers. The first question that comes to mind is, why did it take its author, Morgan Peck, over two full years to publish the article after interviewing her main source, Bradford Stephens, in 2018? And why has it appeared now? Also curious, is why the journalist chose to base her piece nearly exclusively on the account of a disgruntled contractor whose company, Smolder LLC, was only hired for a mere six weeks over two years ago.
The article begins more in the spirit of a work of fiction than of journalism, noting On an April afternoon in 2011, a twenty-seven-year-old tech entrepreneur named Bradford Stephens arrived at a stucco bungalow near the canals of Venice, California. It then goes on to describe celebrity-studded events, a soiree in a Vegas hotel with escorts, yacht parties, and a kidnapping plot in Shanghai in short, all the makings of a modern spy thriller, as opposed to a serious piece of investigative journalism.
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Tumblr Wants To Be The Next New Yorker
There are a lot of media sites with huge audiences. The only problem is their content is shallow and dies off quickly. This is why low-grade content creators like Gawker and Buzzfeed have jumped into the long-form game. Theyre trying to add content with substance to build companies with depth and maturity.
Tumblr is now the newest and possibly the most notorious to have popped into the game. The twist is that .
Not surprising, veteran writers find this pitch suspect. Heres what Tom Chandler of The Write Underground wrote in response to a recent PandoDaily piece:
RealNew Yorker journalism involves airplane flights and fact checkers and multiple bouts with copy editors and long stretches of time and yes a living wage for talented writers.
Maybe even a few copy editors.
In other words, I dont believe Tumblr is really interested in ponying up the real costs of New Yorker journalism like so many maturing online publications theyre seeking the credibility and prestige of New Yorker style journalism, not the investment.
His point: epic content comes at a cost.
Are you, as a content marketer, willing to do what it takes to create it? Should you create it? And can you even create it?
Lets take a look.
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So You Want To Be In The New Yorker
From the time she was a child Emma Hunsinger did. Last November, the cartoonist succeeded.
In 2015 Robert Mankoff, longtime cartoon editor for The New Yorker, told TIME magazine there were seven simple steps to getting a cartoon in the savvy, sophisticated publication. They included getting a day job, having an unmistakable voice and looking at the world as if you were an alien. Above all, he said, cartoonists who aim to publish in The New Yorker should aspire to have a distinctive style. Its not the ink, he said, its the think.
With his own pen and idiosyncratic approach, Mankoff, who retired last year, drew one of the magazines iconic cartoons: a businessman on the phone consulting his appointment book. No, Thursdays out, reads the caption. How about never is never good for you?
In the life plan of artist Emma Hunsinger , Mankoffs never was no good at all. As early as grade school she knew she wanted to sell cartoons to The New Yorker and make a living off her work. In 2017, after years of drawing and redrawing, pitching and rejection, the self-proclaimed perpetual doodlers perseverance paid off when her cartoon, American Girl, was published in the Nov. 27 issue. Drawn in Hunsingers characteristic linear style, the cartoon depicts a weaponized American Girl doll, dressed in frock and Mary Janes, being confronted by police officers reporting a 417K police code for person with a knife.
Emma Hunsinger/The New Yorker Collection/The Cartoon Bank
The New Yorker Guide To Content Marketing
The New Yorker is the authority when it comes to long-form journalism. Thats why Tumblr invoked their name when advertising for freelance writers.
But what can they teach you about business-to-business content marketing? What can they teach us about using epic content to build the value of your brand?
Fortunately, a lot.
Ill dig in deep with some of the above techniques in future posts. In the meantime, get free access to the Scribe Content Marketing Library and work your way through the Copyblogger guide to content marketing.
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Why Epic Content Matters Now
Heres the thing: a writer or site that continuously produces quality content builds an audience. Great content drives people back to the blog or website.
This is what occurs when you obey the first rule of Copyblogger.
And this is the type of content that people hang on to for a very long time. As Mallary Jean Tenore reports in this Poytner article dated March 1, 2012:
Pocket data shows that, on average, users keep a video or article in their queue for 96 hours before marking it viewed. As this Bit.ly study shows, thats a pretty long time compared to the life span of stories shared on Twitter.
From the same article :
Let people take content with them, and they will soon value it more highly than if it is shot at them. Content creators will be rewarded with a longer social lifespan for the stories and videos they work so hard to create. And that ultimately lifts the value of a media brand.
We once feared that the web was killing our brains. Not so. Evidence seems to suggest that instead of destroying our minds, weve revolted. Consumers are demanding that writers respect their intelligence and give them something substantial.
We want something that we can take anywhere during those times between task and location and read.
How Canadian Writers Changed The New Yorker
The New Yorker, once aimed solely at Manhattan elites, now publishes some of the worlds best short stories. To mark its annual summer fiction issue, Nadine Fladd chronicles the Canadians who have expanded the magazines boundaries over the past 90 years
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