When the pandemic hit final spring, Atlas Obscura had simply acquired a $20 million funding from a gaggle of buyers led by Airbnb. Atlas Obscura, on the time, was targeted on constructing the “expertise” facet of its enterprise — guided excursions and lessons — which it anticipated to snap into the large residence rental platform. (The New York Instances can be an investor in Atlas Obscura.) However Airbnb gave up on the initiative because it scrambled to climate the disaster. And like the remainder of journey media, Atlas Obscura has spent a yr largely catering to the fantasies of homebound vacationers. That led, the corporate says, to file site visitors and promoting income, in addition to a brand new enterprise in on-line lessons.
Now, the journey media and the journey trade are bracing — and hoping — for a surge of tourism. Although few within the journey media have taken on re-editing of their product like Atlas Obscura, they’re additionally attempting to adapt to a modified political scenario, looking for to seek out nonwhite writers who stay within the locations they write about, or to have extra numerous American writers inform the tales of locations. Jacqueline Gifford, the editor in chief of Journey and Leisure, stated the journey media was attempting to ask itself, “Who will get to inform journey tales, why they’re telling them, and what’s the best way we could be extra consultant of this nation, of the world we’re residing in in the present day?”
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However there are additionally built-in limits to how a lot you may revolutionize journey writing, stated Rafat Ali, the founding father of the journey enterprise web site Skift.
“It’s all the time going to be outsiders wanting in,” he stated.
The problem for editors and writers throughout media is methods to make journalism inclusive in addition to riveting and provocative, moderately than only a company media train in box-checking. (One high newspaper editor described that style to me final week as “D.E.I. dutiful,” referring to range, fairness and inclusion initiatives.)
It shouldn’t be that arduous. Sophisticated, shocking tales are sometimes the very best ones, as illustrated by the very good “Reckoning With a Reckoning” issue that Adrienne Inexperienced, the options editor at New York journal, put collectively final week. It sought, because the journal’s editor in chief, David Haskell, wrote in an e-mail, “to make clear stakes and likewise complicate them, to inform morality tales however keep away from straightforward morals.”
Atlas Obscura, which additionally publishes magaziney options just like the disturbing story of how a Black lady’s stays wound up on show at a Philadelphia museum and the key queer history of Colonial Williamsburg, is one other good instance of how a writer can meet the second by deepening its content material with an inquiry into, particularly, the violence People typically select to overlook.
Certainly, Mr. Patel advised me he’s unsure “decolonizing” was the fitting phrase for the challenge. “Decolonization suggests removing, and that’s not what we’re doing,” he stated Wednesday morning, as we started our tour of bizarre New York websites on the sting of the Bushwick part of Brooklyn. “Including this sort of perspective to journey and journey writing makes it much less boring.”