I’m so pleased to announce that we will have two new reporters joining our desk this month.
Madison Malone Kircher will be joining us to cover — in her words — “zeitgeisty stories about what’s happening online. The weird, messy, fun kinds of stories.” The kind of stories we all can’t get enough of!
Most recently, Madison was host of “In Case You Missed It,” Slate’s podcast about internet culture, where she covered everything from how sketchy undisclosed ads are secretly driving virality, to influencers capitalizing on murder, to the trendy D.T.C. vegan food company that’s reportedly sending people to the hospital for organ removal surgeries.
Before Slate, Madison was a senior writer at New York Magazine (where she did a stint editing the magazine’s iconic back page Approval Matrix). At New York, Madison wrote about such digital culture characters as Caroline Calloway, Jake Paul, Curvy Wife Guy and D’Angelo Wallace. (If those names don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry. Madison will explain.) She reported features about Billy McFarland’s failed prison memoir, an alleged Reddit sting to catch AP test cheaters and the post-pandemic state of the iconic Strand bookstore. Kircher also spearheaded New York’s ASME-nominated interactive calendar The Year in Memes. She started her career as an internet culture reporter at Tech Insider. She’s also, as Noreen and I can attest, a lovely colleague. And now Louis will have company (or should we say Company?) on the theater kid front.
We’re doubling down on coverage of this thing called the internet! Joe Bernstein will also be joining us to cover — in HIS words — “how tech is changing the way Americans see themselves and each other,” and the convergence of that sector with culture, politics and the media.
Joe comes to us from paternity leave at Buzzfeed News, where he arrived to cover the gaming industry in 2013, and soon carved out an expansive beat writing features that spanned internet culture and ideology, with a focus on right wing media and online radicalization. (For more on his coverage of Breitbart News and Milo Yiannopoulos, see this 2017 profile in the Columbia Journalism Review.)
He excels at doing a big, sweeping pullback look at the consequences of tech on culture, like his Harper’s story on disinformation. And he is a smart, dogged reporter who has made a specialty of finding complicated narratives about what happens when weirder or hidden corners of the internet and the real world intersect. Take a look at his recent story on Peter Thiel’s backing of an “anti-woke film festival” in downtown New York, one of the most fascinating cultural stories of the year, or his revealing piece on how the fights over wind turbines inflame local social media.
Joe was a 2021 Nieman Fellow at Harvard, and previously worked as editor at the amazingly titled Kill Screen Magazine and as a fact checker and reporter for Popular Science.
Madison starts today, and Joe starts Aug. 8. Please give them a warm Styles welcome!