E-zines offer pure, unadulterated -- and sometimes weird -- entertainment
July 1, 1996
Web posted at: 12:20 p.m. EDT (1618 GMT)
By CNN Interactive Writer Kristin Lemmerman
(CNN) -- The World Wide Web provides a wealth of
opportunities daily -- information gathering, self promotion,
shameless exploitation of new technologies. As if those
opportunities didn't already make the WWW distracting enough,
a group of devilish Web surfers have designed sites so
fascinating that you'll want to spend at least an hour to get
their full impact. Or five or six.
The sites, updated on a regular basis (daily, weekly,
monthly) are known in the trade as e-zines because, like their
newsstand counterparts, 'zines, they are not run by the big
names, but unlike 'zines, they exist only on the Web. Here
are a few we like.
Word's stories are not always the most profound in the world,
but they are always fun. You should go there just to see how
stories can be used as a vehicle for the latest Web
technology. The best thing about this site is how cool it
Word's designers are taking advantage of every last drop of
new technology, no holds barred. If you don't have Netscape
2.0 with all the attachments, you may be disappointed.
My only other quibble with the site has long since passed:
The first time I visited it, I thought it was completely
stupid. All the stories I read ended abruptly and seemed to
be only one page long. In fact, every story is several pages
long, but you have to poke around on the page to figure out
which picture to click on to jump to the next part.
Word's story about the travails of being a bike messenger in
Manhattan is a good example: The bike seat is the key. Trust me,
once you do this for a story or two you will think it's easy
In marked contrast to Word, the only strong point in this
brand-new site is its content. Slate, headlined by former
CNN Crossfire host Michael Kinsley (the liberal counterpart
to conservative Pat Buchanan), has conscripted some of the
best-known thinkers in the United States to write its
But the layout is amazingly inflexible -- they have chosen a
font type and size for you, which I can live with, but the
page designers have actually thrown invisible pictures onto
the pages just to take up space and force their text to be
positioned on the page exactly the way they want it. From
reading their premier issue read-me, I gather that they want
the site to look just like a magazine, only on the Web. I'm
just not sure that the memory one page eats up is worth the
Slate aims to be self-supporting through user subscriptions,
arguing that it isn't healthy for news sites to be totally
supported by advertising. A $20-a-year subscription fee
kicks in November 1.
Salon has a lot in common with Slate: intelligent articles,
a fairly simple layout, a disinclination to cram all of the
newest Internet technology on the same page.
Unlike Slate, Salon doesn't make a pretense of being
unimpressed with the new technology. In fact, Salon uses it.
The site breaks some of its pages down into windows, when
they add to the story.
And, it provides a BBS-type location for Salon members to
discuss their views on almost everything. Discussion is
lightly and ably moderated by Salon employees. Salon is
mostly updated weekly, but plans to have daily updates soon.
You will see mention of Slate, Word, and Salon -- in addition
to a host of other e-zines with names like Hotwired, suck,
spiv and feed -- all the time, now that we've pointed them out.
But there are millions of other e-zines that for whatever
reason have received less press but are equally cool.
Addicted to Noise
Addicted to Noise is one of them. This e-zine's focus is music, and I suspect that their graphics designer listens to everything with the
volume turned all the way up. The page design screams a
little louder in the hi-fi version than in low-fi, the
version designed for anybody still dialing onto the Web with
anything less than a 28.8 modem.
However, both versions are good, and it's easy to find what
you want on both, whether you're interested in music industry
news (updated daily), editorials, reviews or interviews of
the newsmakers. ATN also hosts an on-site chat room.
A recent issue included interviews with Pete Townshend,
Radiohead, and director Jim Jarmusch, whose new movie "Dead
Man" stars Johnny Depp. If you're into the entertainment
© 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.