Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

RIP, the Outline

Leah Finnegan, the now-former executive editor at the Outline:

farewell @outline. we have all been laid off.

Rachel Hawley:

I cannot possibly stress how much The Outline changed the trajectory of my life. They were the first place to publish my writing. They were one of the last bastions of the off-the-wall mix of content that the Internet was made for. This is a huge loss.

Paul Blest, writing at Discourse:

This year, the coronavirus is going to join forces with longstanding, structural problems in the journalism business to wreck so many of the best websites and papers we read. Alt-weeklies, already dying, are going to be on life support by the end of this. Even the websites and papers that survive are going to be hit hard.

The Outline should be remembered as more than just an early casualty of the reckoning we’re about to face. I’m going to miss The Outline for selfish reasons; it gave my friends money, and it gave me money, and it gave writers I’d never heard of and now regularly read money, and now there’s one fewer website in the world that’s willing to give us money.

But I’m also going to miss it because, as Darren Rovell would say, the content was tremendous. The Outline was more than a survivor; it was a good website.

The Outline is one of those websites that I loved to the extent that it frustrated me on a nearly daily basis. It was a sort of extant limb of Gawker — another website that irritated as much as it delighted. But it was always for a good reason: these websites explored topics you might not expect from angles you would not see anywhere else. Sometimes, those angles were brilliant; other times, they made me roll my eyes. But the web is less good when it lacks venues for trying new, weird, earnest, and honest things. That, alone, is commendable. The Outline will be missed.