The Awl’s John Herrman Sounds a Warning

Shared in a fantastic new piece by The Verge's Josh Dzieza.

Not too far into The Verge reports editor Josh Dzieza’s excellent look at The Awl, that site’s editor John Herrman casts a glance at the media horizon’s gathering storm.


Over a beer and the ginger ale of The Awl co-editor Matt Buchanan during a spring conversation at the website’s Brooklyn offices, here’s how he put it:

The transition from media hosted on websites to media built around social platforms is more profound than people realize, Herrman says. As more content is published directly onto Facebook, users will gradually lose a sense of who’s producing what. The most consequential journalism becomes just another unit of content in a single stream of music videos, movie trailers, updates from friends and relatives, advertisements, and viral tidbits from sites adept at gaming fast-changing algorithms and behaviors. Readerships that seem large now will turn out to be as ephemeral as Snapchats.

“I think John tends to be ahead of these things because he reads them as science fiction of the present,” Buchanan says. “That’s a lot of what The Awl does now,” Herrman agrees. “Our entire economy is just a giant science fiction writing prompt.”

Oh, man, love that analogy. Klaatu, barada, dictum! That’s all we’re going to tease here. For the rest, click through from your end via Facebook or however else you may have come to hear about our shout out.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.