National / International News
The day before the first of President Obama's executive actions on immigration were to take effect, the new rules have been put on hold by a federal judge's ruling in south Texas.
Savory fish are a staple for penguins, but the poor birds lack the ability to taste the umami flavor of their meals. One hypothesis? The genes at play got frozen out of commission.
A fog of uncertainty creeps across financial markets as negotiations over Greece's debt hit an impasse. More on that. Plus, Vice President Joe Biden is expected to visit Baltimore this afternoon to talk about the troubling backlog of rape kits around the country that have never been analyzed. Hundreds of thousands of these kits containing potential DNA evidence from sexual assaults. The White House has proposed new funding to help clear that backlog. And there's talk (not confirmed) that Etsy might try to sell stock to the public sometime this winter. We look at new competitors that are jumping in.
For the second edition of From the Hills to the Valley - our series comparing Hollywood and Silicon Valley - we spoke to someone who belongs to both worlds. Issa Rae created and stars in Awkward Black Girl, an award-winning web series on YouTube, and she’s also working on a pilot for an HBO show. Last week, she released a memoir of sorts: The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.
Rae believes it was her success on YouTube that brought her the opportunity with HBO.
“HBO would never have heard of me or even seen any of my stuff had it not been for YouTube,” she says.
Why YouTube? Rae had pitched a few shows to networks, but she soon realized that they had a different perception of what the audience wanted to see on TV. She found that her ideas, especially those that involved “content of color,” were often met with reluctance or a lack of enthusiasm.
“I wanted to create a show about black people in college, and they were saying that’s too segmented,” she says. “When I wanted to make 'Awkward Black Girl,' I knew if they didn’t want to see a show about something as mainstream as black people in college, they would never go for 'Awkward Black Girl.' They would never believe they exist even.”
Rae thinks Silicon Valley companies, such as Netflix or Amazon, are good for creativity because they produce show they respect and believe audiences will like. And this, she says, will lead to more diverse programming, because online content is so closely tied to social media, which itself is very diverse.
But the biggest challenge to creating online content, Rae says, is the pressure to produce consistently.
“Had I been consistently releasing content on a weekly basis, I would have had a much bigger following,’ she says. “People will forget about you if you're not on their radar constantly. Audiences are just really fickle. There’s no formula online outside of being consistent.”