A week or so ago I turned in my first piece for Storyboard, a profile of Chris Gethard and The Chris Gethard Show. Storyboard shut down last night. I was excited about writing my first long feature piece in two years, and excited to write a profile of a comedy show where there are stunts and fart jokes and dildos, but where the audience asks questions on suicide and antidepressants and anxiety. Where things are just sad sometimes, and how more TV could work. Like how David Foster Wallace said, a medium that could actually reflect reality (49% pleasure, 51% pain).
So last night when I heard Storyboard shut down I felt terrible, and embarrassed that I had wasted the time of everyone involved, and I just sat and cried (and watched the Knicks get the Atlantic division title) and cried. Now that I think about it, that’s exactly the ending I deserve for thinking it would be funny to do a profile of a comedy show that starts and ends with people weeping (as you’ll see below).
Anyway so if you like my feature, please share it, because it’s not like it’s going anywhere else.
We’re sad to hear this news, as Storyboard was a brilliant experiment in journalism and we hope it returns soon. It’s part of what separated Tumblr from the rest of the social media and blogging community; Storyboard was curated and it was editorial. It was a coherent and human voice that Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter all lacked and still lack.
Storyboard was an effort to give a voice to and shed light on Tumblr users like Jay Batlle, who creates beautiful art out of restaurant stationary. Storyboard told fascinating stories like how Lombardi’s and Motorino managed to keep serving pizza New in the wake of Superstorm Sandy’s power outages.
Journalism is at a crossroads right now. It’s never been the most profitable of business models. We hope that the good people at Tumblr, who have been in immensely generous in giving a voice to us at The Bad Deal and The Price Hike, will come to see the value in producing editorial content, in giving good work to good journalists, and in helping to foster an ailing industry that’s the one of the backbones of our global community.
So many questions! Well just one answer, for now: Storyboard will continue publishing through this Friday, 4/12. We’re going to run everything we had scheduled for this week and a few other things finished in the queue. I strongly encourage you to tune in … while we’re sad to miss out on a lot of great planned stories, we will thankfully get to run a few more amazing things. And then that’s it for Storyboard, in terms of what it’s been so far. What happens next will no doubt be explained somewhere else, at some other time. Thanks for reading!
A year ago, Tumblr did something unprecedented — we created an editorial team of experienced journalists and editors assigned to cover Tumblr as a living, breathing community. The team’s mandate was to tell the stories of Tumblr creators in a truly thoughtful way — focusing on the people, their…
If you are, maybe we can meet up and chat. Just like we did with Sundance, Tumblr Editorial will be at Tribeca doing interviews and stories with filmmakers and other creative types — even if you just have a Tumblr and love movies. If you’d like to hang out, hit our askbox with the dates and times you’ll be there and what you’d like to talk about. We’ll have such a time!
I’m sure by now every freelance writer in America has read the post by Nate Thayer documenting his exchange with an editor at The Atlantic, who asked him to write 1,200 words for free. It looked completely familiar to me. Examples: I’ve let the Huffington Post, against every fiber of my being, reprint materials I’ve written for other publications for free; The New York Times asked me to blog about the 2008 Winter Olympics for free (I’m a former competitive figure skater, so came not only with the writing chops, but also expert knowledge of that event’s most popular sport). I can say that the HuffPo editors are shameless on this front. The New York Times editor was not, and I appreciated it, even though I declined the “work.”
I’ll be participating in a twitter-chat regarding the SMITTY (Social Media in Travel & Tourism Awards, no I don’t know where the Y comes from) at 2pm if you want to axe me things in that context. Details here.
Graphics journalism is exactly what it sounds like - words and images united with journalistic process. It’s an emerging form of visual storytelling, and with it’s rich visual culture, Tumblr (and specifically, Storyboard - Tumblr’s home for original feature content) is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the medium as it slowly becomes mainstream.
Tumblr could do for comics journalism what it’s already done for the animated gif.