PolicyMic proudly introduces Adam Hogue, writer, artist, and our knockout pundit of the week. As part of the "pundit of the week" blog, we feature one sensational PolicyMic-er to share personal experiences with our community, and pose one never-been-asked question to a staff member.
About Adam: Adam is a Keene State College graduate currently living in South Korea. He writes, reads, and tells stories with avid enthusiasm. When not dabbling in photography or engaging in political debates, Adam can be found running, hiking, or listening to NPR.
Caira Conner (CC): First things first, when and why did you decide to join PolicyMic?
Adam Hogue (AH): Around September 2012, one of my best friends was the lifestyles editor for a Boston magazine called The Next Great Generation and she asked if I wanted to be a writer in her section. It was a good way to get into writing regular articles. I hit my peak there during "sex week" with an article called 5 Ways to Make Sex With a Condom Interesting. It was my first taste of having an article do really well, a feat I haven’t really replicated since.
The magazine ceased publication shortly thereafter but in an e-mail, they said that PolicyMic would take TNGG writers on if they applied. I remember being overwhelmed by the amount of Ron Paul articles on the site at the time. I immediately liked the freedom I had to write about just anything I could think of. PolicyMic has been a great experience for me.
CC: Tell me about the time you spent in South Korea. What influenced your decision to live there?
AH: I graduated from college in 2011 and I really wanted to do some traveling. I also wanted to make money. I responded to a post to teach English in Abu Dhabi but the recruiter advised me that teaching in Korea might be a better fit. So instead, I applied to teach in public schools in Korea, got hired and came. It has been a great experience and a great hub to travel around Asia from. I signed up for a one-year contract, but I liked it so much I stayed on for a second.
Being able to visit Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, really getting to know what life is like in a country on the other side of the world, and paying off my student loans is not a bad deal.
CC: Your interest in the intersection of culture and politics has produced some exceptional articles on our site. What can PolicyMic do to further develop an edgier culture section? Do you see advantages to the types of coverage we have now in comparison to other culture-only sites?
AH: I think an edgier culture section comes from the pundits offering independent perspectives on the current events that define the times we live in. The best articles I have read from the culture section are ones that really tap into where the writer is coming from and what they think about a particular event, show, trend, whatever. Some articles seem to just regurgitate what is popular on other sites, while the really good ones make a genuine statement about something. I like those and I think those come to define PolicyMic as something all its own.
With so much news and so many outlets to read it from, I think PolicyMic’s individuality comes from the freedom they give their writers to really dissect our culture.
PolicyMic will never be the place where people go to hear about the news first, but PolicyMic is really growing as a space where people can actively exchange ideas. PolicyMic does a great job of making the article the start of a conversation because it's not just an article with a comment section. People like that engagement. NPR is great, I love NPR, but NPR doesn’t have a comment section where the writer will actively engage you in conversation back.
PolicyMic has the writer-reader connection that lacks just about everywhere else on the internet. It also has a kind of scrappy underdog feel to it. I like that.
CC: What's been the most surprising aspect of your user experience with PolicyMic?
AH: A couple things: The first is the people who are reading. I have been part of a live panel on the BBC with two professors about the end of the world because they saw my article (I definitely felt out of my league there), and I was featured on Neil Young’s website for a short time because his name was in the headline of an article I wrote about the decline of radio. I think they took down my article when they realized it wasn’t really about Neil Young. But it was still one of the best 24-hour periods of my life.
Second, the hands-off approach on the part of the editors. Literally, what appears on the site is nearly exactly what I wrote. So, I have to be really sure about what I write and say. I like that. There’s no safety net or filter.
Also, the stats. I like that no one publically talks about their personal stats. I hope it stays that way.
CC: What is the best possible thing that could result from your using PolicyMic as a platform?
AH: I get a job writing or working for a magazine or news publication. I would love to be paid to write. I’d like to work for NPR. I hope someone there reads this.
CC: Kurt Vonnegut or Gabriel Garcia Marquez? What else do you like to do when you're not PolicyMic-in'?
AH: Tough decision, but I’d have to go with Kurt Vonnegut. He was the first writer that I felt really spoke to me and spoke to the way I saw the world and that hasn’t changed. I’ve also read more of his books than any other author.
Outside of PolicyMic and writing, I really enjoy making art. Drawing, painting, anything. I also enjoy the outdoors and going out for long hikes, listening to podcasts, music, the X-Files and LOST, comic books, you know, all kinds of stuff.
CC: Your turn. What's one question you have for a member of our staff?
AH: My question is for Chris Miles. Where do you see the site heading over the next year? If my vision looks anything like yours, consider me for a job around January.
Chris Miles: A year is a long time in PolicyMic-land, and in the news business in general. I'm into my third year here at PolicyMic, and the one thing that constantly strikes me is how quickly things can change. We can plan an editorial calendar with some amazing story ideas ... an editorial calendar that can be shredded in an instant as news breaks. We see major figures and celebrities taking an interest in publishing on our site, which opens up the door for things we only could have dreamed of a couple of months back.
We want to continue to grow out our stellar community. We will continue promoting our pundits and broadcasting your work to larger and larger audiences. We will produce more stories on a wider range of issues. We will make the comments section into something which the internet has never seen before: a real, authentic online dialogue. We will continue to add technology and new designs, making PolicyMic slicker, faster, and more cutting-edge.
PolicyMic is constantly evolving, and it's hard to pinpoint exactly what the site will look like in a year. One thing that won't change is our amazing community, which will only continue to thrive.
Our community has propelled PolicyMic to some serious new heights, and this will be constant even a year from now.
Our pundits are now able to make it to the front pages of major internet news aggregation sites like Google News, Reddit, Drudge Report, etc. (Read that sentence again and let it sink in). Imagine what our community can do a year from now.
PS: Shoot us an email in January!
CC: Adam, thank you. Your thoughtful perspectives and articles are what helps make PolicyMic great!
For more news on Adam, follow him on Twitter: @Hoguie