The New And The Next: Six-Second Comedy And A Spin On News

Originally published on October 23, 2013 2:27 pm

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to share the site's latest discoveries.

This week, he tells NPR's Arun Rath about a YouTube sensation in Urugauy, a six-second comedian and the young woman who gained a following with her explicit declaration of love for science.

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From NPR West, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath. It's time now for the New and the Next.


RATH: Carlos Watson is the co-founder of the online magazine Ozy. Each week, he joins us to talk about what's new and what's next. Welcome back, Carlos.

CARLOS WATSON: Hey, Arun. Always good to be with you.

RATH: So this week, you have a piece about a rising star in Uruguay, a man with a YouTube channel that - it's kind of reshaping the definition of what we consider news.

WATSON: Augustin Ferrando kind of got depressed with a lot of the news he saw, and thought that little moments in life were just as interesting. So he's created an incredibly popular YouTube channel north of a million hits, in a country that only has 3 million people. It's become quite the sensation down south. And who knows, it could spread north.


AUGUSTIN FERRANDO: (Foreign language spoken)

RATH: Tell us about the videos. They're about seven or eight minutes long. What kind of stuff is he featuring?

WATSON: I mean, literally everything. These videos may be about a soccer game that some kid had. It may be about some interesting drink that a grandmother had that night. It might have been what was not on television. He's saying: If I tell the little, individual stories of what you had for dinner, what happened at this schoolhouse, even though that may not seem like classic big news, that that's really the stuff of real life. And it's gone from YouTube to their mainstream television channels there. They actually play clips of it every week.

RATH: (Laughter) That's great. There's another Web-related story. This is about that service Vine. When it first hit the scene, I was wondering, how are six-second videos going to convey anything? But you pointed us to Will Sasso, who's made sort of an art out of this.


WILL SASSO: Yeah, look, it's a Honda Accord. More like Honda according to Ah-nuld. You should get out of the way!

WATSON: Yeah. So Will Sasso, who's been a comedian who's bounced around for years, has finally found his platform in Vine. What Will Sasso figured out is, you know, he can try and tell you stories - or he could do really funny impersonations.


SASSO: Come on. Go!

WATSON: The governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger.


SASSO: (Singing) Sweet Caroline...

WATSON: So he's done these great little episodes where he pretends to be Arnold driving.


SASSO: I guess all I have to do to get to my destination is turn right here.

GPS VOICE: Turn right on ...

SASSO: I know! That's what I just said!

WATSON: It's funny.


RATH: And finally, a rising star you look at this week. Elise Andrew runs a popular science blog. It has a name we can't really say on the radio, but she loves science - that much of it we can say.

WATSON: We can definitely say that. Twenty-four-year-old woman who is originally from Britain, was living in Canada at university; bored out of her mind - by her own telling - one day, and just suddenly posted a few science articles that she liked. And as you said, she put a very colorful headline: I blank love science.

And before she knew it, she had 1,000 likes; and fast-forward 18 months later or so, and she's got 7 million followers on her Facebook page, all of whom are consuming various science articles, science videos - what have you - curated from around the net. It's quite a tribute to the triumph of nerd-dom.

RATH: It's a cool story. And there's one disturbing part of it, though. She has this wonderful enthusiasm that she brings to the topic, but when it comes out that she is a woman...

WATSON: So people didn't know that a 24-year-old, young woman was the person behind this incredibly popular site. And when she reveals herself, she got a bunch of negative comments. But rather than shrink from it, she leaned into it, in the best sense, and started posting essentially kind of the worst quote of the day. I think she calls it "the crazy of the day." So I love that she turned that around, and that her popularity has only grown. And coming soon, you'll be able to enjoy her on Discovery. Discovery's got an online channel where they're going to be featuring Elise Andrew. So rather than shrink, she's growing.

RATH: It's great. Carlos Watson is the co-founder of the online magazine Ozy. You can find links to the pieces we've talked about at our website. Carlos, thanks again.

WATSON: Always my pleasure, Arun. I'll look forward to seeing you again next week.

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