[62] DISGRUNTLED: ONE OF WEB'S MOST UNUSUAL MAGAZINES (fwd)

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Wed Feb 21 11:07:24 MST 1996


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Curtis Price <cansv at igc.apc.org>
Subject: (Fwd) [62] DISGRUNTLED: ONE OF WEB'S MOST UNUSUAL MAGAZINES

Haven't visited this site yet myself, the notice just came in my mailbox this
morning. Web site is at: http://disgruntled.com/ - Curtis Price


------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date:          Wed, 21 Feb 1996 03:15:18 -0500
From:          NewsHound at sjmercury.com (NewsHound)
To:            cansv at igc.apc.org
Subject:       [62] DISGRUNTLED: ONE OF WEB'S MOST UNUSUAL MAGAZINES

Selected by your NewsHound profile entitled "WORKPLACE VIOLENCE". The
selectivity score was 62 out of 100.

Disgruntled: one of Web's most unusual magazines
BY TODD COPILEVITZ

Dallas Morning News

Had a really bad day at work? You know, the kind that spurs fantasies of
throttling the boss or quitting in such a blaze that you don't just burn the
bridge, but nuke it?

If so, you're just the person for Disgruntled (http://www.disgruntled.com/), one
 of the Web's newest and most unusual electronic magazines. Unlike many of the
publications on line, this one has nothing to do with computers or defining
what's digitally hip. Disgruntled instead has a simple slogan: ``The business
magazine for people who work for a living.''

Where else can frustrated workers of all types find ways to make their bosses'
lives hell? The first four monthly issues have featured stories about turning in
 your company for using illegally copied software, pranks to get even in the
workplace and filing a discrimination complaint with the federal government.

The publication even carries a unique disclaimer. ``Warning, Disgruntled may
seem impolite to some readers. These pages contain language that may be deemed
inappropriate for young children and employers.''

``There's a sense that traditional business writers write stories for the
shareholders and CEOs of the world,'' says Daniel Levine, the 34-year-old
founder and editor. ``We're reporting from a worker's perspective.''

Ironically, Levine is a traditional business writer, by day, for several
publications in the San Francisco area. It's at night when he becomes champion
of the rank and file.

``It seems everyone is griping about work. It's becoming a national pastime,''
he says. The magazine claims inspiration from such authors as Studs Terkel and
Paul Krasner.

But Levine is quick to note that Disgruntled isn't just for the masses on the
assembly line, in the mail room or in the secretarial pool.

The magazine's first Disgruntled Employee of the Year was Mark Whitacer, the
former president of Archer-Daniels-Midland's bioproducts division. Last year he
quit the company after becoming an informant for the FBI, accusing his bosses of
 a worldwide price-fixing scheme.

Disgruntled was supposed to be a traditional publication, once a month, on
paper, distributed by mail. But finances curtailed those plans, and the Web
version was born, Levine says. It immediately found an audience.

More than 1,000 people signed up for a mailing list that notifies them of each
new issue. Thousands more have stumbled in while surfing the Net, and stayed to
sample the fare.

One guy even signed up to write a piece for the magazine, his fantasy of getting
 even at work. Called ``Scrooged Again,'' it was the story of a postal worker
who shoots his boss, then kills himself. The 15-page story dwells on the
damnation his comatose boss endures as a result of his misdeeds at work.

Unfortunately for the author, his bosses didn't find the piece very amusing. He
was fired a few days later for ``unacceptable and disrespectful conduct.''

``I wish we could say they read the story on our Web site,'' Levine says. ``But
it turns out the guy made copies and was handing them out at work.''

Disgruntled's readers are nothing if not true to their cause. Within a day or
two of his firing, other readers sent the author more than 100 job leads and
plenty of encouragement.

``That's been the real surprise of having a Web magazine, the instant dialogue
between readers,'' Levine says. There's a discussion group at the site, and each
 issue has a regular column called Getting Gruntled, a sampling of the
discussions.

Other departments include Quitting Time, personal tales of how people quit in
style; the Complaint Department, where workers learn how to get even, legally;
Tales of Corporate Horror, a serial from the novel of the same name; and the
Morning Briefing, a roundup of news items about disgruntled workers around the
world.

There's one other option, the boss button. At the bottom of every page is a
small icon. Click it and a spread sheet pops up so your boss won't know that
you're surfing instead of working. The title of the bogus report: ``Our Mission
Is to Increase Shareholder Value.''

``Our content might be a little dark, but we never lose our sense of humor,''
Levine says.

X X X

Todd Copilevitz can be sent electronic mail at toddcop(at)onramp.net or U.S.
mail at P.O. Box 655237, Dallas, Texas 75265.

X X X

(c) 1996, Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Knight-Ridder/Tribune Information
Services.

AP-NY-02-20-96 0621EST


This material is copyrighted and may not be republished without permission of
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