The gender gap, Buzzfeed and fighting ISIS

Although I'm not terribly involved in them anymore, my formative years (professionally) were spent in newspapers and news media. I retain an incredible fondness for any part of that industry, and am always paying attention to new trends and opportunities in that space. It's a very romantic business, and while I don't know I'll be fully back into it anytime soon, I love watching it. That affinity for true news has resulted in my general distaste for Buzzfeed. Which is why I was immediately skeptical about this article:

Buzzfeed is the most important news organization in the world
I've always seen Buzzfeed as mostly listicles and clickbait. They're better than anyone at native advertising, but I always thought those advances would be better monetized (and better levered) on platforms that also had true journalistic capability. This article gave me perspective on Buzzfeed I'd never had, and while I don't know they're the most important news organization in the world, they're certainly the only one who's leading into the future as opposed to playing catch up.

Veterans volunteering to fight ISIS
Transitioning back to civilian life after deployment is an area I don't think we're sympathetic to enough for veterans. The New York Times reports that a number of these veterans who are either unable or uninterested in integrating back into society are electing to return to Iraq as volunteer fighters against ISIS. Along with other civilians whose reasons range from thrill-seeking to depression, they make up volunteer fighters on the other side of the conflict against the Islamic State.

What happened to Brand.com?
I almost worked here, and I'm glad I didn't. Right around the time that Brand.com was beginning its huge expansion in Philadelphia, I had some conversations about joining them as their head of sales. The deal didn't come through for a number of reasons, but I walked away from our conversations with a strange feeling about what was really going on in the Curtis Center. I can't believe two years later they've just up and vanished, and no one will talk about it. I'm sure this is the first of many stories about this, and I'm eager to watch it unfold. 

The 47 senators are right on Iran
Allow me to start with this: I believe the GOP senators who wrote the open letter to Iran were wrong. Period. I'm not sure its treasonous, as some have claimed, but it was definitely a gross breach of tradition and wholly inappropriate with the way we've defined our government's handling of foreign policy. They shouldn't have done it. What's been lost (even for me!) in the hubbub about how the message was delivered is that they are right! This piece uses an example of some assurances given by Nixon to Vietnam which were, in turn, blocked by Congress during the Ford presidency of an example where this dynamic has come into play. They shouldn't have sent the letter at all, but they're right in their message to Iran: buyer beware.

Why boys are behind in school
The OECD released a report this past week on the gender gap in education. Not only has the gap that once existed between men and women closed; a new gap has developed in the opposite direction. Boys are falling behind girls at an alarming rate in school. Vox did a great job summarizing the data into five big reasons. The scary part is that based on the reasons behind this trend, I don't see it changing any time soon.

Have your own The Hangover weekend in Vegas
We'll end this week on a lighthearted note: here's a Zach Galifianakis lookalike who spends his days roaming around Vegas dressed as Alan from The Hangover and partying with people for the weekend. What a great life!