As most readers will know by now, The Kernel is back. We go live on Monday, 12 August: in 62 days.
I thought I’d explain a bit more about where we’re headed, because there was a fun piece in the Independent on Sunday about our return but I’m not sure it made clear, as I’d like it to have done, that we’re making some changes to the way The Kernel looks, sounds and operates.
The first thing to say is that we’ll be doing a lot more picture-led features and we’ll be experimenting heavily with video, inspired by publications we admire, avoiding the traps of publications we don’t.
At its best, The Kernel was a mixture of whimsical, satirical fun-poking and serious, thought-provoking comment. With the journalists we’ve invited back this time, we’re holding on to that feeling of cerebral mischief while excising some of the more, say, vindictive excesses of the past.
That’s one of the reasons The Nutshell, our runaway success subscription newsletter, is not returning.
The other is that The Kernel in its new incarnation will be a more middle-brow, mass-market product than before. I won’t claim we’ll never again shine a spotlight on the hubris and absurdity of the Tech City project, or Europe’s bland and derivative tech blogosphere, but in general our mantra is to punch up, not down, and do so in a way that is intelligible to ordinary people.
With that in mind, we’ll be concentrating on more policy and governmental journalism, explaining and analysing the frictions that occur between the fear and control freakery of government and the disorientating pace of advance and innovation in the private sector.
We’ll also be covering more of the research, discoveries and businesses that matter to civilisation. If we were occasionally a little pessimistic in the past, that’s largely because we focused on the petri dish of the east London internet industry, leaving infinitely more transformative stories from the worlds of artificial intelligence, robotics and politics untold.
I’m particularly excited about our renewed focus on psychology and neuroscience. Whilst scrupulously avoiding the charge of windbaggery we will make more space for academic discussion. Then, of course, there’s the small matter of internet culture and online celebrity, which is in our blood and will be returning with aplomb.
Besides that, you can expect comment, analysis and investigative work in technology, media and politics, in particular in the areas of addiction, art, morality, sexuality, body engineering, augmented reality, love, sex, death, money and every other important corner of life that technology is touching and changing.
In short, we’re returning to our original mission: a blend of Vanity Fair, the Spectator, the Daily Mail, the Economist and the National Enquirer for tech: a funny, feisty, clever and compelling blend of satire, opinion and expertise that entertains as it informs: the one truly unmissable tech publication in a sea of derivative bilge.
See you in August.