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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jane Pratt's Website Debuts

Posted By on 05.17.11 at 04:05 PM

Yesterday Jane Pratt's new, much-ballyhooed website, xoJane, debuted. If you are over a certain age, you remember Pratt as the founding editor of Sassy, the groundbreaking anti-Seventeen magazine. If you are under a certain age, you have probably heard older women reminiscing about it and sighing over its demise (in 1994, after Pratt had left). In fact the site, originally to be called JanePratt.com, was renamed to sound "warmer" and "closer to the spirit of the site," but some are speculating it was really because too many members of the target audience don't know who she is.

Today, the knowing, conversational tone Pratt's Sassy took is no longer quite as revolutionary, snarkiness having been adopted by so many media outlets, perhaps most notably Gawker. In fact, the site resembles nothing so much as Gawker's sister site, Jezebel, but with the up-to-the-second news angle stripped out. It's also facing a more sophisticated audience that has pretty high expectations, perhaps best encapsulated in this comment on a post featuring informal photos of the author in various ensembles: "already in love with this feature, but you must upgrade from macbook cam to camera on a tripod."

The site also features professional wild girl and former Reader columnist (and still occasional contributor) Liz Armstrong, who gamely agreed to sport a nude bodysuit around New York for the "I'll Try Anything Once" feature.

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