Freedom Of Choice: Decider Launches Digitized Depth

Image courtesy of The Onion

Words by Erin Wolf

Decisions. Seems like every week there’s more and more to decide on where to go to find a new favorite drink, sandwich, hangout, CD or band in Milwaukee. Unless of the overwhelmed persuasion, most enjoy the power and freedom of choice, so when a new opportunity for enabling a more informed decision-making process presents itself, well, we’ll take it. The Onion’s A.V. Milwaukee has already been providing locals with a good dose of informed, weekly to-do activities in print form — what could be better than this? Try a daily, digitized dose. More digestible in one sitting, and more fortified. Fan-belt’s Erin Wolf talks to A.V. Milwaukee’s City Editor, Steven Hyden about the daily digital form “America’s finest news source” will be taking on with the launch of their daily-updated Decider Milwaukeegiving Milwaukeeans something else to decide on other than which wool socks to put on before going out this winter.

Tell me about Decider.

“We started out in Chicago [last year], first…it’s not up in a lot of cities, yet. [Today] we’re launching in Austin, too. Milwaukee is going to be one of the first Onion online cities. It’s going to be similar in tone to the print version and what we cover will be same — there’ll just be more of it.”

What, specifically, will set the online version apart from the print version?

“We’ve got a huge restaurant and bar directory. We’re going to have a searchable movie database…we’ll be able to do stuff every day. We’re a weekly publication, so that will be a big change. We’re going to do concert reviews and people will be able to leave comments — we’ll be able to incorporate multimedia stuff…Youtube videos, mp3’s…people will be able to decide whether they want to go to a show or not. Decider is like A.V. Club only more of it and more in-depth. We’ll be known as Decider in the print edition, too, so hopefully it’ll draw more people in.”

Got anything lined up in particular that you’re really excited about?

“We’ll be running a review of the Girl Talk show and Bob Dylan. Also, a review of Song Sung Blue, which is playing at The Oriental, and a documentary called 99 Bottles, about Wisconsin breweries.”

What kind of usage do you think you’ll get from the locals?

“It’s definitely a web site that if you’re bored at work, you can waste a lot of time on it! We have a lot of stories from this year in the archive, already…the new site is well-designed and clean. We’ll be a web site first, and a newspaper, second. There’ll be a lot more [content]…we’re going to be able to do more theater and fine arts stuff. We have a ton of space. We’ve got five hundred restaurants up and bars with price ranges, names and movie reviews from the A.V. Club [Milwaukee]…

I’d like to see Decider Milwaukee become a community forum. We want to have the readers to have a sense of ownership — this kind of belongs to Milwaukee! We want to hear suggestions and encourage people to leave comments and submit their own reviews about a show. Even if someone is saying ‘this band sucks’ …(I’d hope they’d be more articulate than that)…they should be able to come out and say it…

..oftentimes, people will just comment on the comments! On the A.V. Club online, there’ll be up to 1,000 comments per story…that’s the cool thing about web, versus print — it’s more cooperative.”

Decider Milwaukee truly will be a cooperative of events-oriented persons, and Hyden stresses that it’s not even just straight-up comments that the site is looking to inspire — it’s a more in-depth interaction…and tapping into the pulse of the city is continuously becoming more accessible. “We’re [also] open to writers who have a desire to become an expert and more involved in a certain area,” he says. 

Decider Milwaukee launches today…
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