On the Red Couch with Details Style Director Eugene Tong

The term “men’s fashion” sounds like an oxymoron. A simple button-up and a pair of jeans is sufficient for most guys, right? In theory, menswear revels in uniformity: a “look” must be simple, consistent and without the slightest air of effort.

That tripartite description also fits Eugene Tong, Style Director at Details magazine. Hardworking, humble and confident, Tong is a study in the casually cool: he’s the guy to set and get trends precisely because he rejects them in favor of his intuition.

With so much discussion about the “science of creativity,” we wanted to know if there was a “science to style”—and who better to ask than the Most Stylish Man in Media?

As a style director for a men’s magazine, how do you approach Fashion Week?
It’s really about a schedule. I’m not one of those editors who plans their outfits. Being in New York, I’m operating from my home base. When you’re in Europe, you’re just there for the shows. In New York, you’re going back to your apartment or office instead of having free time in between shows to grab a coffee. New York Fashion Week is more chaotic because you’re still living your real life.

What is your role during the shows? Are you there to report?
I don’t do any writing. I do only fashion direction and styling for the magazine. The main purpose of presence is to gather next season’s ideas. After you go to London, Florence, Milan, Paris and New York, you can gauge what’s happening next season. We take those ideas and put together a few months worth of issues. Everything from there trickles down to the masses, but we get a sneak peek first.

There’s been a conceptual shift in menswear. Men’s style is casual and athletic; a few years ago it was “heritage” or “prep” or “Americana.” Now it’s reminiscent of late 90s streetwear: T-shirts, hoodies, stuff that’s edgier, but neutral and still masculine. How would you summarize the trend going on today?
The trend now is “elevated basics.” People in the industry like to group things together, and I think a lot of things that are categorized as “streetwear” are not actually streetwear. It’s like when certain brands got grouped into the urban category even though some of them had different aesthetics.

Men’s fashion now is definitely about going back to basics. But there will always be designers doing the opposite. Fashion has become a big business, so these brands that need to take that into account need to make commercially viable products to drive these businesses. That’s where you’re seeing these luxe versions of very basic things.

I think it’s also a reflection of the way the world is now. Fashion is expensive. You have to view things as investment pieces. Rather than buy super trendy jackets or silhouettes, you can upgrade your basic sweatshirt or sweatpants or sneakers and get invested in fashion—things that are done in much more luxurious fabrics or they’re cut better.

I’ve seen photos of you from The Sartorialist or Tommy Ton, and you’ve been—to your credit—very consistent in your style, which is now the latest look: classic, clean, a bit of hip-hop mixed with high fashion. I’m wondering if you’re concerned with trends or if you even care about how you’re perceived.
I’m 34 years old now, and as an adult you get to this place where you’re comfortable. I don’t chase trends; I’m not wearing the latest stuff. I wear what works for me. I don’t let myself be pigeonholed into categories. I like to mix all different things.

I think too many people let trends dominate their thoughts, and they don’t think about whether that trend applies to them. I’ve remained constant because I don’t try to do anything that I’m not. It’s great if people take my pictures. But I could also care less.

Of course, I know I’m very fortunate. I see everything from the get-go, and I’m able to distill that. But what works for me is very different from what works for my readers, so I have to switch hats when I’m doing stuff for the magazine.

Who is the typical Details reader?
An urban professional who has a lot of disposable income to spend on clothes. He’s really attuned to what’s going on. He may not know the specifics, but I don’t need to educate him on wearing navy suits with brown shoes or things like that. I can just say, “This is this season’s most important trends for you.” There’s service mixed with education, but they have the base knowledge. I’m never gonna have to justify the amount of money they need to spend; it doesn’t faze them. It’s the guy you want to be, the lifestyle that you want—the guy at the party that everyone wants to talk to.

Your job is hard to come by. Do you have advice for someone who’s 22 or 23 and hates their post-grad office job and wants to follow your path?
I tell incoming assistants that our industry doesn’t hire a new class every year. It’s not Goldman Sachs. Everyone in my position got there through internships. Go to a magazine stand, look at all the magazines you love, and get an internship.

Don’t be above anything. I did everything above and beyond what I was asked. I never left work until my boss did. I never took vacation. I’m an extreme, but you have to show them that you want it, and that you’re willing to do whatever it takes.

That’s lost now because of the internet. The younger generation—this is a cliché—has a sense of entitlement that things should just happen for them. I busted my ass. Be prepared to make a ton of sacrifices.

It’s not the most lucrative industry, either. I do OK, but for years, I had friends in banking or other industries who were making a lot more money than me. The difference was that I am happy going to work everyday. I have no problems with Mondays.

Does the role ever drag on you?
Oh, yeah. People see only the glamorous shit. I get invited to a lot of great things and get access to cool stuff, but all that fun stuff is 10% of the job. I have the same office politics, the same kind of boss, but I’m in a more public industry.

I mean: When you have to go to parties because it’s work, it’s work. We’re not partying all the time. I have a really strict rule of not drinking at work-related functions. You don’t wanna be that guy who’s being talked about the next morning.

What’s the absolute best part of being a style director?
Being able to represent the magazine and the United States as a whole at Fashion Week. Only the top editors-in-chief get to go, and I’m fortunate to be able to go as well. I still get hyped. I’m not sitting a desk staring at a screen.

I find it irritating when other editors complain. People get jaded. When you think about it, I get paid to go to Europe. That’s not bad, dude. My friends will talk about where we’re traveling for work. I’ll say, “London and Florence and Paris,” and they’ll say, “Oh. I’m going to Orlando.”

So to put in perspective: I’m super fucking lucky and it’s all pretty great.

Flip through Details—the go-to magazine for young sophisticates—on Flipboard:

~ShonaS is curating “Engineered Garments
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On the Red Couch with Refinery29′s Angela Tafoya

Fashion’s a lifestyle. It can be boiled down to those two words: “life” and “style.” But beyond the glitz and good looks, it can get a little murky. Can you really teach someone how to be cool?

For answers, we turn to Refinery29. The online publication takes a down-to-earth approach in its promise to deliver “nonstop inspiration to lead a creative life.” From quizzes that determine your style type to help on handling a “disappointing dye job,” Refinery29 uses personality and practicality to keep readers engaged.

One of the people who lends the site an air of approachability is San Francisco Editor Angela Tafoya. A former journalism student, Tafoya is interested in trends and the people who make those trends come to life. We spoke with her about passing fads, style research and why we should care about the way we look.

Refinery29 is one of the most successful examples of new media overtaking print in many ways. Why and how did that happen?
I think the site’s success can really be attributed to a medley of authenticity, talented people that really have the passion to take the content to the next level, and a different scope and frame of thought surrounding our subjects. All of these things create an environment where people are pushing personal boundaries, and always striving to make each and every story better than the last.

What are some of your favorite publications?
I love Lula for its girly, dreamy editorials; Into The Gloss for its creative beauty content; The Coveteur for its introspective look at influencers’ closets; Freunde von Freunden for interiors to ogle; and obviously Refinery29. I like a sense of discovery when it comes to finding publications, so there are new sites and magazines I am finding through friends, Instagram, Pinterest. I’m always on the lookout.

What specifically about lifestyle reporting appeals to you?
I enjoy discovering things that were happening around me—especially hyper-local style—and then presenting it on some kind of platform. I like engaging with people in a kind of conversational manner.

As a fashion editor, do you feel an obligation to be well-dressed?
Absolutely. I’m much more conscious now. Even though I work from home and I’m not always dressed to the nines when I’m behind my computer, I’m still self-aware. It’s what I love to do, and if I wasn’t doing this already, I would be just for fun.

How do you decide what’s worth covering?
I try and keep a close watch on what’s trending globally. Locally, it’s not so difficult. It’s a mix of things I’m seeing on different sites, on social, on Instagram or Pinterest, and seeing what’s happening there on a very micro level. I think that’s the best form of discovery. I have the luxury to choose, really.

Mostly I pay attention to what people—individuals—are doing, especially those with a fresh voice.

And who has great style?
Anyone who takes a risk with fashion and displays inherent personal style—women I see playing with colors, textures, and proportions continually inspire me. People like Julia Sarr Jamois, Jenna Lyons, Solange, Natalie Joos. I’m a big fan of the quirky color palettes and non-traditional pieces they infuse into their wardrobes.

What’s the importance of style?
Style means paying attention and telling a story. It’s a way for us to transcend ourselves. We say something about who we are—whether we know it or not.

You’re creating a dialogue and a sense of authenticity. The whole point of fashion is to immerse you into an experience. Those experiences are all so unique.

Besides the Internet, where do you turn to for inspiration?
Travel. I think it’s vital for inspiration to take yourself outside of your everyday-norm environment and explore different sounds, sights and cultures. Some of my most creative days and moments and ideas have been when I am out of my comfort zone and surrounded by new experiences. It’s not always possible to jetset to an exotic country, obviously, so I really try to find new ways to get out of the house and explore new territory—even in the Bay.

Fashion is interesting because it’s about individuality, but trends are unavoidable. And the Internet has accelerated that cycle. Does that make fashion seem repetitive?
With popularity comes oversaturation. I don’t think it’s too repetitive. There’s a distinction between fashion and style. Style is inherent, and people have and always will love to identify it, to discuss what they think is compelling. As a culture, we’ll always find a way to establish a fresh voice. We just need to be patient.

Check out Refinery29 on Flipboard:

~ShonaS is curating “Engineered Garments
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Basics #2: The One and Only Thing You Need to Personalize Flipboard

Think of Flipboard as your one-stop shop to keeping up with the news and your interests. Whether you enjoy business articles from Fast Company or ice cream recipes from a friend on Facebook, it’s easy to make Flipboard your own with one action: Follow.

The Follow button looks like a bookmark and is located on a magazine cover or at the top of the section you’re flipping through. You can follow publications, blogs, social accounts, hashtags, search results and magazines. Following generates an easy-to-access tile on your Flipboard. And voilà! Now you have your favorite things to read and see at your fingertips.

Pro tip: If you’ve followed so many sources that you can no longer see them on your Table of Contents, tap the red ribbon and go to My Flipboard to see the rest of what you are following.

When you follow things you like, Flipboard will do the hard work for you and combine content in a single place called Cover Stories, a place to get a little bit of everything you enjoy. Flip through your Cover Stories to get highlights from the sections you follow.

For more tips on using Flipboard, be sure to check out our first Basics blog post.

~DeanneC is reading “Fierce Love
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Flipboard Adds Ultravisual Team

I’m really excited to welcome the talented Ultravisual team to Flipboard today. Founder Neil Voss and crew have built a beautiful visual network that unites creative people around collections of content, and we’ve been impressed with their approach to information design, pixel-perfect engineering and visually stunning interfaces. Their expertise is the perfect addition to Flipboard and is sure to accelerate the future of magazine making on our platform.

Fans out there should know that Ultravisual will continue to be available for the next six months, owned and operated by Technicolor, the company that’s backed their efforts. The Ultravisual team will be around to support its community during this transition, with Community Manager Jenn de la Vega available to answer any questions: community@ultravisual.com or on Twitter @Ultravisualapp.

The team is now officially on board out of our New York office and I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together.

~MikeM is curating “The Designer Standard
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The Week in Review: Celebrity Images Hacked

Over 100 stars were exposed in the latest round of photo leaks to hit the Internet, this time revealing nude or nearly nude images of household names, including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton.

The incident appears to be a breach of celebrity iCloud accounts and the FBI is on the hunt for the culprit(s). Apple said iCloud itself was not hacked, and it was instead the result of a bug in the system.

“We have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet,” Apple said in a statement.

But the trending photos, first published Sunday, ignited a debate over personal and technological privacy.

“Keeping each other’s data safe is everyone’s responsibility. It’s time that our devices and services live up to it,” Janet Vertesi wrote in Time.

“The problem is that we have collectively ceded our privacy bit by bit as we have moved more social and business interactions from the physical realm to the so-called cloud,” Vikas Bajaj wrote in The New York Times.

From privacy and Apple to celebrity news, Flipboard magazines have each angle covered.

Hacking by Kodir otag: News from the hacking world: the high-profile breach, other affected companies and the hunt for hackers across the U.S.

Privacy by Nadia Daneshvar: Are we paying a price for free Internet? Which cities and states are reforming their data strategies? Get the answers here.

Apple by travisdefilippo: There’s always something coming down the pike from the biggest U.S. technology company. Read the latest updates and announcements from Apple.

Celebrity Corner by Vanessa R: Whether it’s a passion or just a guilty pleasure, indulge in Hollywood happenings here.

VF Hollywood by Vanity Fair: Vanity Fair’s guide to celebrity news, awards season updates and gossip roundups.

Shooting Stars by Flipboard Photo Desk: The EMMYs, the VMAs, Comic-Con, a history of rockers and models—flip through photo galleries compiled by our photo editors.

~GabyS is reading Stars +
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The Week in Review: Value of Sleep

We blame it on laziness, too much socializing or a late bedtime, but there is also some science involved in why teens just can’t wake up in the morning.

Adolescents stay up later because they physically can’t go to sleep earlier, according to a new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics that says teens have a delayed release of melatonin and a lack of “sleep drive” in response to fatigue. Even when tired, they have difficulty falling asleep and do not feel the bedtime urge until later.

The study recommended starting school later in the day, to prevent the negative effects of too little sleep, which include lower grades and higher body weights. Despite the warnings, schools are not required to follow the recommendations and some are starting earlier this year to accomodate cirriculum demands.

“The urgency and the magnitude of the problem of sleep loss in adolescents and the availability of an intervention that has the potential to have broad and immediate effects are highly compelling,” the organization argued in its report.

As we start a new school year, magazines on Flipboard provide sleep tips, advice about sleep disorders and explain the consequences of too few ZZZs.

Sleep by Amy Moore: It makes you more honest, a better worker and less likely to experience depression. Read about the benefits and importance of sleep.

Sleep & Sleep Disorders by stacievanb: Tips and tricks to the best night’s sleep.

Restful (Sleep) by Jorin Cowley: Celebrate the joy that comes from a wonderful night of rest.

Everything About SLEEP by Patrick Raymondo: Your sleep-related news from which cities get the most sleep and who’s sufferng from Sleep Drunkenness to the implications of sleep deprivation.

Rest, Relax and Sleep by Resthouse Sleep Solutions: Learn about the upsides of a good night’s rest and a few tips to help you along the way.

Wellness by Eric Jones: Sleep is just one part of a healthy lifestyle. Find eating, exercise and behavior advice here.

~GabyS is reading Putin’s Rules
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What I’m Reading: Sommelier Raj Vaidya

As the head sommelier of a restaurant with three Michelin stars, Rajeev Vaidya is a man whose good taste is literally certified. At Daniel, Chef Daniel Boulud’s eponymous New York City restaurant, Vaidya uses expertise and improvisation to curate an experience for his guests.

To do that, you need a refined palate. And perhaps most importantly: a curiosity for the world. Considering that the wine list at Daniel reads like a “thrilling document,” we knew that Raj wouldn’t disappoint when we asked him: What are you reading?

I use Flipboard every morning for a couple of hours, starting out with top news outlets and then grazing on random topics ranging from finance and current events to food industry news. Then I just meander about the suggested pages and links, finding interesting articles that I would otherwise be oblivious to—it’s a great way to widen the scope of information that passes by my gaze.

Some of my favorite sources are:

Astronomy, space and physics by Mark Draper: With headlines like “Scientists find that 80% of all light in the universe is missing,” you can’t help but learn some cool random facts!

History in the Making by Darby Krajicek: Very cool way to think about current events.

Street Photography Monochrome by Alberto Pérez: Great collection of black and white photos— random but thought provoking.

Indian Food by Phani Kumar: An awesome resource for recipes and also history and cultural significance of the dishes I ate growing up.

A Walk In My Clogs by Chef Daniel Boulud: Gotta keep tabs on where the boss is as he jet sets around the world!

NYT Critics’ Picks Restaurants by The New York Times: Keeping up with the state of the industry locally.

Startups by trphan33: I like to keep abreast of what is going on in the tech world, especially since so many of my clients at the restaurant work in that field.

Finance by Mike Eisenberg: A good resource to know what the trends are and who the players are on Wall Street, again as a way of keeping up with the restaurant’s clientele.

Since I am not a big user of other social media outlets, Flipboard gives me a chance to collect articles for our magazine and reach a wider audience with my interests than possible here at the restaurant. It’s also amazing personally because I can access different viewpoints and stories and coverage of news in the same place, rather than say having to go look on individual websites.

Why is rosé great with almost anything? Do pricier bottles live up to the hype? Where do sommeliers go for a drink after work? Find out below:

Daniel’s Cellar by Chef Daniel Boulud & Raj Vaidya

~ShonaS is reading “Sean Hagwell Studios
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Brides Says “I Do” to a Flipboard Edition

The institution of marriage may be heading toward the same fate as the dodo. Millennials in the U.S. are on track to have the lowest marriage rates, by age 40, compared to any previous generation.

Still, getting married will continue to be a pretty big deal for anyone who does decide to say “I do,” because as soon as you answer that one critical question come about 100 more: “Where is the wedding?” “Who’s invited?” “What are we eating?” “Band or DJ?” “And what will you wear?!” Weddings are, of course, as varied and unique as the people getting hitched.

Luckily, Brides magazine, which has been part of the Condé Nast stable since 1959, helps love bugs—Millennial or otherwise— figure out the details. From the inspirational to the tactical, Brides covers the before, during and after of Your Big Day.

And now that Brides is formatted for Flipboard, it just got a whole lot easier to catch up on key wedding info in-between cake tastings and dress fittings. Give it a ballroom-caliber whirl:

~MiaQ is reading “The Horror
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On the Red Couch with REDEF’s Jason Hirschhorn

It was 2000, the bubble was bursting, and Jason Hirschhorn, then the head of Digital at MTV Networks, yearned to prove that this Internet thing wasn’t a fad. So he started sharing links to interesting articles, largely about video, to a small group of friends.

As that list grew through word-of-mouth, so did the voraciousness with which Hirschhorn collected and shared information. “It was not edited well so sometimes you would get 90 stories a day,” he says of MediaREDEF’s earliest email blasts. Still, that didn’t stop people like former NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman from telling Forbes magazine that Hirschhorn’s newsletter was a key read. The list ballooned as Hirschhorn served as the president of Sling Media’s Entertainment Group and then co-president of MySpace.

Now Hirschhorn is trying to turn MediaREDEF and his natural curiosity into a real business, having just closed a $2.25 million seed round to take his passion project to the next level. What follows are his thoughts about curation, who inspires him, and what’s in store.

Would you say that MediaREDEF has a point of view and, if so, what is it?
The most important thing in business—or in life—is to be curious and to step out of the zone of what you think you’re interested. I go to the Sundance Film Festival every year, and if it were up to me I would see gangster movies, sports documentaries, and anything having to do with financial malfeasance. But, when you have a friend who has a point-of-view you respect, or you hear buzz on another movie, even if the description isn’t something that you think you’d be interested in, if you push yourself, more often than not those will be the things that you love. That’s what we’re trying to push with REDEF. Be smarter by letting go of your prejudices of what you think you’re interested in, and trust us to be the DJ for you.

What are some new interests you’ve discovered you love through this project?
Anything having to do with virtual reality. Part of virtual reality is ridiculous to me. It’s like, why don’t you go hop on a plane and experience it for yourself? But there’s also this idea that you could continue the flow of your interests by being in a different environment.

And anything having to do with David and Goliath type stuff. I’m a big underdog fan. I was the president at Slingbox. The whole world wanted to sue us. I love unfair fights. Watching Travis [Kalanick] and Uber fight an ingrained establishment that’s not only a monopoly in many ways but also bad service…and then Uber trumping that with technology and good service.

What’s your media diet? How do you scan this much information?
It’s inhuman. I get fetishes. The recent fetish is World War 2. I must have watched 100 hours in the last month [on WW2].

We’ve set up a very robust system. While RSS was considered a dying medium, for the influencers that track and disseminate a lot of this information, it is the greatest way to get through a lot of content. I go through about 6,000 pieces of content a day.

[There is a] feeling that you’re never done, and everyday you press publish you’ve missed something and that pisses you off. But the good thing is, it will never stop coming. Yes, there’s The New York Times, but then there’s also that blogger who’s a developer at a certain company who writes a very salient piece about the industry. I love the fact that we’re putting individual bloggers next to sources of record.

I love that too. I love discovering new voices through REDEF. How do you find them?
That’s the most important thing for us. [We hope that] everyday when you open REDEF, you say, “Where the hell did they find that?” We have some secret sauce. Even though we do hand-pick, we have technology that hunts and gathers for us. It will never publish automatically, but it allows us to pull from social sources and feeds, things that we are likely to be interested in. Then we hand pick.

What’s coming up next for REDEF?
We’re going to concentrate on video, on sit-down interviews because I want to get people together from disparate backgrounds to talk about issues and solve them together. I’m not interested in three guys talking about V.O.D. I’d love to bring in a brilliant data scientist to help Ralph Lauren figure out how to better target his styles and SKUs around the world and film it. Fun stuff like that. Mix people from different backgrounds.

We are going to do some influencer publishing. It’s not going to be the reason for our being, but for example, windowing kills me—one day it’s on Netflix, one day it isn’t. I would like to be able to go to a studio boss and push that executive to write the Jerry Maguire memo that others don’t have the guts to. To me, a lot of the influencer publishing becomes “let’s fill the tank.” Shouldn’t we be as discerning about that as we are about our picks?

What other curators do you admire?
I think that Maria Popova is a genius. She’s really a master curator because she’s analyzing things and writing whole pieces on them. Her ethos is showing you interesting things before you thought they were interesting.

When you follow Brian Stelter or David Carr or Alexis Madrigal or Mathew Ingram or Om Malik, it’s not just about their publications but when they go on social media they are talking about other people’s stuff. I read Om’s things he reads every week, and Madrigal’s five intriguing things email is disparate and crazy and fun.

I think the guys at Songza are geniuses. They look at music, not from a data point of view but through moods and feelings and destinations.

But I think my curation brother from another mother is Andy Weissman from Union Square Ventures. We often throw barbs when we’re trading tracks from the 80s or movie scenes or that kind of stuff. That does spark [a lot] of the imagery in the [REDEF] newsletter and stream of consciousness rantnrave. Those aren’t planned. Those are like picking atoms out of the air.

Check out MediaREDEF on Flipboard:

~MiaQ is reading “#MagsWeLove
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The Week in Review: Ferguson Aftermath

Unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on August 9 in Ferguson, MO. His death transformed the small city into an epicenter of conflict and debate that has waged for over 10 days.

The community experienced arrests, curfews, National Guard troops, tear gas, boarded businesses and Molotov cocktails. After an autopsy that showed Brown was shot at least six times, a grand jury investigation is underway to determine if Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson should be charged.

Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson Wednesday, after it was announced the Justice Department is conducting an investigation into possible civil rights violations.

“The world is watching because the issues raised by the shooting of Michael Brown predate this incident,” Holder said on Wednesday. “This is something that has a history to it, and the history simmers beneath the surface in more communities than just Ferguson.”

“As Americans, we’ve got to use this moment to seek out our shared humanity that’s been laid bare by this moment—the potential of a young man and the sorrows of parents, the frustrations of a community, the ideals that we hold as one united American family,” President Barack Obama said this week.

Flipboard magazines are covering the latest news from the ground in Missouri as well as the larger societal issues of racial tension and gun violence:

Ferguson Shooting & Protests by CNN: CNN has used its global resources to cover the events in Missouri. See images from the streets, follow the reporters’ reactions and watch those involved speak out.

Race by Jatau: Ferguson breathed new life into the discussion of race in America. This magazine has analysis of the latest news, past events and the state of race relations in the U.S.

Ferguson,Missouri by Teresa Beenandoe: Politicians, celebrities and law enforcement officials are voicing their opinions. Read them here.

Gun Violence by Lou Klarevas: Gun violence is a big issue in the world today. Learn about the groups influencing the debate, which geographic areas are impacted most, and the tragic stories of people affected by guns.

In Ferguson: Upheaval & Debate by thenewsdesk: Breaking news, first-hand accounts, analysis and backstory—this magazine by the Flipboard Newsdesk covers every angle.

The Ferguson Shooting by Carmen B: What’s next in Ferguson? Stay up to date on the grand jury investigation and the steps taken on the ground.

~GabyS is reading “U.S. Open 2014
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