Still, they have standards. Their submission inbox gets “a lot of rambling,” Ms. Guterman said.
“Someone will email, ‘I want to write about all of my boy troubles,’” she said. “And, well, maybe we don’t really care about all your boy troubles.” In that case, she said, they encouraged the writer to explore “boy troubles at large.”
On a hot May afternoon, the co-founders were talking corporate sponsorship over white wine, Diet Coke and mixed nuts at the Chelsea hotel. For now, contributors to Byline will be unpaid, but Ms. Guterman and Ms. O’Sullivan said they had been in talks with possible sponsors including the furniture company Knoll, the astrology app Co-Star and the kink-friendly dating app Feeld.
Wearing an emerald maxi dress and nude Gucci slides, Ms. Guterman clapped her hands. “We had a come-to-Jesus moment,” she said. “We got rid of banner ads. I don’t want to go on this gorgeous website and see banner ads.”
“Eww,” said Ms. O’Sullivan, who was wearing a big blazer and wide legged jeans.
The Drunken Canal didn’t make money. It did, however, get the nutrition shake company Soylent to pay for a trip to Art Basel in Miami.
“It’s kind of a muddled story,” Ms. Guterman said of her fleeting relationship with the meal replacement company. “Basically, Claire and I wanted to go to Basel,” she continued, referring to Claire Banse, the paper’s co-founder. “I was like, ‘Let’s pretend Tesla flew us out.’ Claire was like, ‘No, no, let’s pretend Soylent flew us out.’”
Soylent struck Ms. Guterman as reachable. “I was like, ‘I feel like I could get to Soylent,’” she said. Four hours later, she recalled, she was in a group chat with the company’s founder, Rob Rhinehart.