From The North Shore Weekend newspaper
When you find yourself saying, “There should be a (blank),” and no amount of Googling turns up that (blank), it’s a sign that you’ve discovered a gap in the marketplace. When Rachel Cantor, a senior at North Shore Country Day in Winnetka, found herself having one such conversation with her friend Sophia Dawn, they started to lay out a way to turn that “should be” into a reality. That’s how The Dawtor was born.
“It’s important to be informed about the world around you,” Cantor says. “Most teenage girls don’t tend to read the newspaper. We talked about why that is. Why don’t these girls read the news? We came to this conclusion that the language is not geared toward a teenage audience—it’s complicated. So we decided to create an online blog that posts current event summaries for teenage girls in a way that appeals to them through pop culture references, jokes, and easy to understand language.”
With headlines like “@thedeependofthepool…” for a story about the Puerto Rican government defaulting on a loan, or a story on Obama’s clean energy initiatives containing a sentence like “…announced a long range plan to kick carbon emissions a$$,” this is global news interpreted by teens and restructured for a teenage audience. Some stories are broken up into a single paragraph, very geared toward the sound bite culture of the internet. At the end of each story they link to the more traditionally formatted news source from which they culled the story, in case their teenage readers want to click through and try the other version. But most of their audience will probably want to stick with the site that calls a police shooting crazier than Lolla or Osheaga (two large-scale music festivals).
Cantor and Dawn originally met at a social entrepreneurship summer camp called Summerfuel, a three-week program at Yale devoted to helping the develop the next generation of business innovators. In their desire to start a project together it was their mutual love of reading, writing, and staying informed that drove the development of The Dawtor. Cantor has spent most of her time of late rebranding The Dawtor from locating a site designer to finding the perfect fonts for the new version of the site they launched on November 1. Dawn, who lives in Manhattan, has taken on the task of managing their growing base of teenage writers.
“We knew that there are a lot of talented teens and we want all of our writers to be teens,” Cantor says. “I’ve been emailing so many teachers and newspaper editors from different schools saying—This is what we’re all about and we would love to have some of your students write for us, let me know if anyone is interested. Or even summer programs like Cherubs (a summer journalism program) at Northwestern. What’s really cool about it is that we have a writing staff from Manhattan, Atlanta, England, India, people who come from different backgrounds and places so we come to a greater understanding of topics.”
For more information visit thedawtor.com.