OZY's Carlos Watson Shares His End of Year Note
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because we’re taking stock of where we’ve been and pushing boldly forward.
By Tracy Moran
As you raise that last glass of champagne, I wanted to thank you for all that you helped us achieve this past year, and offer a brief sneak peek into the one ahead.
What a tumultuous year it was. From record-breaking natural disasters to the onslaught of mass shootings and the brave but disheartening revelations following #MeToo, at times it seemed like tragic news might never end. And love him or hate him, President Trump put America on a far less predictable course. Substantively, he set off dramatic changes to our immigration system, health care, the use of nuclear weapons, international alliances and, of course, taxes. Stylistically, he reset just about every norm we have come to count on.
Fasten your seatbelts, everyone.
I suspect that next year may see us break yet another record, perhaps surpassing 1968 as the most dramatic in modern U.S. history. The combination of the Mueller investigation, rising tensions between President Trump and the more conventional members of his party, the Resistance, #MeToo and its future siblings and, of course, the midterms is likely to cause significant turbulence. Fasten your seatbelts, everyone.
Especially given the circumstances, OZY is more deeply rooted than ever in its mission to not only guide you through the chaos but also help you see beyond it. Here’s a taste of what we have in store:
- The World Votes. Last year, we launched States of the Nation to examine seismic shifts in our national ethos from all 50 states. In the next 18 months, between Russia’s March elections and the polls in India and Indonesia in early 2019, over 3 billion people will vote in national elections worldwide — more than ever in such a short time span. Over the same period, OZY will send a dozen reporters to all 150+ countries, bringing you a fresh look at everything from unconventional candidates to unexpected approaches to love and science around the globe.
- U.S. at a Crossroads. Here in the U.S., we are kicking off in-depth coverage of the midterms with timely email updates on the most important races and coverage focused on the economic, cultural, technological and other forces reshaping the country.
- Better Than Bipartisan. Our promise has always been to initiate great conversations across party and industry lines. In 2017, influencers ranging from John McCain to Kamala Harris, Michael Che, January Jones, Mark Cuban, Chelsea Clinton, Jeb Bush and many more all took to OZY’s Presidential Daily Brief and our other platforms to share their thoughts. Several more joined us for gutsy and thoughtful debate on the first season of our primetime TV show, Third Rail With OZY (TRO), produced in partnership with WGBH for PBS. Don’t miss Season 2 of TRO or our groundbreaking new series examining the unexpected ascent of stars you know and love, Breaking Big — both coming to PBS this year.
- 10-Minute Escapes. Our debut podcast, The Thread, topped 1.5 million downloads and broke the top 10 on iTunes (check it out in the Guardian and NYT). Our innovative series looking at Russia beyond Putin, blockchain, new cosmetic surgery and The Great Disruptionachieved wide acclaim, while OZY Books emerged as a new source of discovery for literature lovers and our beloved Eugenious took on sex scandals, superheroes and a multitude of other topics. This year, we’re following all of that with Seasons 2 and 3 of The Thread and our second amazing podcast, OZY Confidential, starring Eugenious.
- Engaged Students. In 2017, we launched OZY Edu to engage students in current affairs. We addressed audiences at more than a dozen colleges, developed quizzes and resources for teachers, expanded the OZY Genius Awards and more. In 2018, through a powerful new partnership, we will brief millions of students each and every morning on the news they need to know.
- Festival of the Year. This year, we will expand our hallmark festival, OZY Fest, to two full days, July 21-22, in Central Park. If you missed it, check out last year’s festival in the centerfold of Time Out here. Stars like Malcolm Gladwell, Will.i.am, Issa Rae, Mark Cuban, Zara Larsson and Joe Biden will join us again this year to preview the world’s best music, food, art and ideas, and I hope you will too.
- 40 Million Strong, and Growing. Finally, with your love and support, we doubled our audience last year to over 40 million readers and viewers on the web, on TV, through our partners, in the classroom, in Central Park and beyond. From the beginning, OZY set out to be the first and favorite news source for the insatiably curious. In 2018, we expect to reach 40 million more, and hope you will share us with even more of your friends.
I hope this holiday season has brought you joy, rest and reflection. If, during your year-end musings, you’ve arrived at something profound, funny or just plain exciting enough to share with the OZY community — be it an amazing new hotel or a revolutionary way to shrink the national debt — you can submit it to us here. Indeed, many of our very best stories start with ideas from readers like you.
With all the best from our family to yours,
Carlos, Samir and the entire OZY team
- Tracy Moran