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Broadly editor-in-chief Tracie Egan Morrissey wants to make something clear. Vice Media, the purveyor of edgy news and cultural content aimed at men in their 20s and 30s, might be behind the new female-centric brand, but women are running the show.
“People just assume because Vice has been known for being such a male-driven brand that this is the work of men,” Morrissey tells The Hollywood Reporter. “If anyone’s rolling their eyes and thinking that women aren’t completely running this shit, then that’s completely sexist.”
As the leader of a site named Broadly — a tongue-in-cheek take on the slang word broad — Morrissey is bound to get the occasional eye roll. But she says the name has the stamp of approval from several of Vice’s top female employees. “It was like my second day of working and [publisher Shanon Kelley] and I invited women from across the company to sit in a room with us and brainstorm. That name just seemed right.”
Adds Kelley: “It’s a great word and it’s also a pun for the scope of the work that we’re covering. When people react like that and we explain that it was a group of women who came up with it, that changes things.”
Morrissey comes to Broadly from several years at Gawker-owned feminist site Jezebel, while Kelley has spent more than six years at Vice. Combined, they have been able to turn Broadly, which launched Monday, into a channel that feels decidedly feminist without looking out of place alongside Vice’s portfolio of brands, which include food-centric Munchies, Vice Sports, Vice News and others.
“Being a woman is not a niche, it’s an identity,” says Morrissey. “It’s different than doing something like sports or food or music. You have to speak to the multiplicity of women and cover more topics because women are so much more than just fashion or beauty.” That’s not to say Broadly won’t cover fashion or beauty. In fact, one of the channel’s first shows is Style & Error, which will cover culture of fashion in a fun way by focusing on topics such as the power suit. “I would never want to undermine fashion or beauty because they are important in women’s lives,” Morrissey adds. “Saying that they’re fluffy is sexist, in my opinion, because everyone acts like sports is so f—king important.”
The key to Broadly will be its mix of Vice-style investigative journalism and cultural pieces, including a profile series that will include conversations with women (“I like women who are no bullshit and say what they think,” says Morrissey) such as actress Rose Byrne and feminist Virginie Despentes.
“Everybody thinks that a serious women’s site is going to be all videos on prostitution and sex trafficking, but you need to find a balance because women’s interests are broader than that,” notes Kelley. Of course, Broadly will address some of those more serious topics. Alongside planned documentaries about a matriarchal society in Kenya and lesbian bars disappearing across the United States will be programs that tackle topics such as reproductive rights and prostitution.
Broadly launches at a time when female-centric sites are having a renaissance. In addition the Jezebel, a number of sites including Bustle, The Hairpin, Hello Giggles and others have launched in recent years. Despite the proliferation of sites, Morrissey asserts there are few outlets producing long-form video content.
“There was a huge white space for videos that were aimed at women,” she says. “We wanted to do original reporting so that we’re not just reacting to what’s going on in the world, instead we’re driving discussion. That’s our goal.”
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