Voices

‘Gawker Media’s Biggest Mistakes,’ and 4 Other Stories You Should Read

Here’s what you missed while you were hearing the phrase “cupping” one too many times this week…

BuzzFeed News: Why Won’t Facebook Release Me From Overnight Oats Hell?

Selected by Dillon Baker, associate editor

Katie Notopoulos is one of my favorite tech/internet writers, mostly because of inventive stories like this. Here, she goes deep on a weird tick of Facebook’s algorithmic News Feed: those damn posts that keep popping up at the top your feed, even when you couldn’t care less about them.

Personally, the top of my feed tends to be dominated by my older relatives. I have a few theories as to why that is. They tend to post much more frequently than anyone my age, and because they’re family, Facebook’s algorithm gives their posts extra “points,” for lack of a better term. A similar thing happens on Notopoulos’ feed, and she uses the particular case of a co-worker’s comically inconsequential post about overnight oats as an example.

The overnight oats get to the heart of an issue with Facebook, and of algorithms’ use as arbiters of social relationships in general: For all the work, capital, and genius minds behind this, the most-used algorithm in the world, it still feels like a extraterrestrial being making sincere but embarrassingly wrong guesses at what I’d like to see.

Esquire: El Chapo and the Secret History of the Heroin Crisis

Selected by Nico Willson, editorial intern

This longform investigative article from Esquire traces the current heroin epidemic to a surprising source: the piecemeal legalization of marijuana in the U.S.

Loss of weed profits for the Mexican cartels caused them to moved onto heroin, flooding the U.S. market with higher-quality and cheaper goods. The article also dispels rumors of El Chapo’s prison breaks and reveals what happened with his capture. It’s not exactly a happy ending, according to author, since El Chapo was perhaps the only person that brought an end to the senseless cartel wars. He will only be replaced by others.

Kill Screen: Genji is with you

Selected by Noah Waldman, editorial intern

Blizzard’s newest video game, Overwatch, is one of the most critically acclaimed and beloved games of 2016, thanks largely to its amazing cast of playable characters.

The video game magazine Kill Screen may have put together the best tribute to those champions yet. In a series of posts, a different writer describes their relationship with one of the characters: There’s Clayton Purdom’s love letter to Junkrat; Caty McCarthy’s ode to D.Va and gamer-girls; and Chris Priestman’s exploration of McCree and masculinity.

But the best of the series, in my opinion, is Michelle Ehrhardt’s piece on Genji, which explores why, as a trans woman, she identifies with the cyborg ninja. While trans perspectives have had a spotlight on them recently, there is still not much trans criticism and identity within popular media. Michelle’s post is an excellent example of how marginalized communities can claim characters for themselves, and use them to help explore their own struggles.

BuzzFeed News: Silicon Valley’s Hippest Church Is Going Public

Selected by Brian Maehl, talent development manager

One of my close friends is a pastor, and a few months ago he mentioned that his church’s website was getting a facelift. It turns out this is quite the balancing act. On one hand, you certainly don’t want potential young members to think your website is lame. On the other hand, if the website is sleek and engaging, it could be off-putting to traditional worshippers—and potentially even seem a bit conniving.

Enter C3 Silicon Valley (C3SV), which full-heartedly takes the latter approach, embodying the progressive approach to church, aptly, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Their tagline says about all you need to know: “Not religious? Neither are we.” The idea, according to the article, is to separate their church from the traditional associations and routines, and instead turn the focus to living a relationship-focused pursuit of faith.

On the whole, the piece turns the lens on an institution whose leap into the 21st century has been difficult, to say the least. Is C3SV the answer? I’m not so sure—their message sometimes seems to border on the cultish—but they made me optimistic that a middle ground is possible.

Gawker: Gawker Media’s Biggest Mistakes

Selected by Joe Lazauskas, editor-in-chief

This week was Senior Week at Gawker Media. Founder Nick Denton will be forced to sell the company at a bankruptcy-court supervised auction on Tuesday thanks to the Hulk Hogan lawsuit, making this Gawker’s last week of editorial independence. As a result, the Gawker blogs have been publishing all the weird stories they’ve always wanted to do.

This post by Ashley Feinberg—indisputably Gawker’s best writer—is my favorite. It’s just screenshots of her pitching stories to Gawker editors and getting turned down. It’s a peek into perhaps the greatest creative mind of our generation. Ashley, if you’re reading this, email me. I would love to buy you a frosé.

Here are some of my favorites:

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