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The Awl is a New York-based blog that covers media, culture, and politics.
The site was founded in April 2009 by ex-Gawker writers Choire Sicha and Alex Balk and former Radar employee David Cho. The site has an irreverent tone similar to Gawker’s, though at its launch, it was intended as an alternative to Gawker’s emphasis on traffic, search-engine optimization and counterintuitive tone. Cho left for Grantland in 2011, and Sicha and Balk passed the day-to-day operations of the site on John Herrman and Matt Buchanan in 2014.
It is supported by advertising, and in June 2010, it announced plans to expand into a network of sites, which now includes the comedy focused site Splitsider and The Hairpin, a site focused on women. The network drew a combined 2 million monthly visitors in 2011. The website, which relies on contributions from various writers, has also begun a profit-sharing system where each month’s authors receive a small compensation.
Backfence was a network of user-driven hyperlocal news sites that launched in 2005 and closed in 2007. Backfence was founded in 2005 by Mark Potts and Susan DeFife with five staff members and two community sites in the Washington, D.C., area. It raised $3 million in local and national investment and eventually expanded to 13…