Sunday, December 29, 2013

Jim's World


As I look back on 2013, it's humbling.

I took last week off and thought I had a Jim's World kicking around in my head.

Then I checked the numbers for the December 22nd edition -- the one Ava and C.I. steered, edited, put forward the story ideas, executed them with others or by themselves.

Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Let's Keep It Real and Not Genteel: Class, mom..." did the usual outstanding Ava and C.I. numbers and I'm thinking good and . . .

"TV: Feminism is telling painful truths" -- they did a second TV article.

This is the most popular thing they've ever done.

Not just this year.

Not just in one year.

2007's "TV: Aftermath leaves an aftertaste" is in their all time top five in terms of page views.  It was popular in 2007.  Probably their tenth most popular.  But in the time since, it has continued to be popular.  So much so that it is in the top five of all time most popular.

Well last week's "TV: Feminism is telling painful truths" wasn't just the most popular article of the week, it wasn't just Ava and C.I.'s most popular piece of December or even of 2013.  This thing, in one week, became their most popular piece of all time.

Talk to them about this week's feature -- still unwritten as I type this -- and they avoid making eye contact.  That's because they don't follow the numbers . . . except we took off last week -- Dona, Ty, Jess and me -- the whole week.  That meant Ava and C.I. were left to do corrections.  And you can't pull up a published piece without seeing the number of views on it.  As Elaine explained in "Best piece of feminist writing," Ava and C.I. saw the numbers and were basically in shock.

Some people see numbers like that and love it.  Ava and C.I. see numbers like that and immediately feel this need to flee, this feeling that they can never top numbers like that.  The response to their writing is just too much for them to process.  We all know not to tell them their numbers.

If we do, they go into panic mode and deliberately write their next TV piece in a different manner, one used to scale back expectations.

While that was the break out hit of the edition, it's also true that the numbers were off the wall for everything.

How does it feel to know the most popular edition is the one you didn't work on?

It's actually okay.

First off, Third didn't just emerge last week so we've all built the level we've reached.

Second, that edition wouldn't have happened with me on it.

I would've had other suggestions and ideas.  This was Ava and C.I.'s edition.  We knew from past years that they could handle the edition themselves and that the readers would be happy.

I don't think anyone could've guessed they'd be as happy as they were but . . .

The second most popular feature was "Editorial: The 'pro-woman' propaganda dumped on the feminist movement" -- and it's now the most popular editorial we've ever had.

That came about because Beyonce was fabricated as a feminist by some in the press and they did that by taking strong statements she made defending the clothes she wears on stage and in videos and passed those remarks off as her response to being asked if she was a feminist.

Poor little Beyonce Fan Girl Liars, C.I. subscribes to the Vogues.  The Vogues.  Not just the US one, the British one, French Vogue, a Spanish one (I think from Spain), a Japanese one, etc.  So she and Ava went into the library in C.I.'s home to pull the British Vogue from this year where Beyonce made this amazing feminist statement.

And that's when they apparently became the first American feminists to actually read the issue -- everyone else basing their 'coverage' either on a Telegraph of London summary by a man or The Huffington Post's summary based on their video clip of a British man speaking.

No one, sadly, thought to consult the actual source document.

No one except Ava and C.I.

And that's why the edition worked.

That's why their writing works.

They'll be planning a feature or in the middle of writing it when something strikes them as strange.  So they'll make calls or do research and then they'll find out, woops, what we're being told isn't accurate.

They did a great job last week and that really is what the best Third pieces have been this year: whether Ava and C.I. worked on them or not, the best pieces were always the one where we questioned the narrative instead of merely repeating it.

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