Mary Borkowski, Jennifer Bernstein, and Rachel Rosenfelt,
The New Inquiry
The New Inquiry is an intellectual heir to the most venerated literary criticism publications. But this monthly magazine, founded by three women, isn’t afraid of the digital realm—both practically and in the subject matter it grapples with. Monthly digital subscriptions are available on the cheap (just $2 an issue), but all content is available for free. It’s got the intellectual heft of older publications like The New York Review of Books but without the stuffy tone or bias against pop culture.
Laura Poitras, The Intercept
One of three founding editors of national-security-focused digital magazine The Intercept, Laura Poitras is also a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker. While the focus tends to land on Glenn Greenwald’s role in publicizing the NSA leaks, Poitras was one of the initial group of journalists to meet with Edward Snowden. The Intercept will flood the zone on the NSA story, then perhaps branch out from there.
Mallory Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe, The Toast
Whereas most women-centric sites, the sort of modern answer to traditional glossies, are published by larger companies—or by men (Jezebel, The Hairpin, Bustle, Slate) The Toast is an independent, wickedly funny take on the ladyblog. Founders Mallory Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe sought to create “a place where women who are not all white and under thirty and straight and living in New York City are also writing about ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and ‘Sherlock’ and which BB creams work for them, and their friendships and the time they broke their arm playing field hockey.” Not only have they proved that a site doesn’t have to be bro-friendly to be hilarious, they have an enviable editorial voice that’s strong but doesn’t feel contrived.
Kelly Virella, The Urban Thinker
A digital magazine dedicated to longform examination of the African American experience, The Urban Thinker was founded by investigative reporter Kelly Virella with support from the International Women’s Media Foundation. She hopes to launch it later this year.
Sarah Lacy, PandoDaily
After AOL purchased TechCrunch in 2010 and took the blog in a direction she didn’t like, writer Sarah Lacy decided to do her own thing. The resulting site, Pando Daily, aims to be the site of record for the startup world, Lacy wrote in a 2012 post announcing the launch. She already boasts an impressive list of investors. And while the site has often stoked controversy in both the media and tech worlds, by all accounts she’s had an impact on the beat she set out to cover.
Bonnie Wolf, Carol Guensburg, Domenica Marchetti, and Michele Kayal, American Food Roots
The four founders of American Food Roots “combine rigorous reporting with recipes and stories from home cooks (that’s you), new and established immigrant communities (that’s you, too) as well as unpublished materials from US archives.” It’s an example of a new, narrative take on a niche issue, and it’s brought to you by veterans of The New York Times, The Washington Post, Gourmet, and National Public Radio.
Tavi Gevinson, Rookie
The teenage fashion blogger-turned-publisher runs what is arguably the best publication for teenage girls, because it’s also by teenage girls. Organized around a monthly theme, the site abandons the quizzes and prom-dress spreads on traditional teen magazines in favor of provocative essays, playlists, and fashion layouts that speak to the Tumblr generation. While Gevinson has made headlines for her fashion-forwardness, her celebrity connections, and her forays into Hollywood, she’s rarely credited with founding the best magazine of her generation (so far), a publication that filled a major hole in the media ecosystem: a smart, well-edited publication that doesn’t try to talk down or pander to the teenage readers it targets.