Chronicling the rise of hip-hop politics. The role blogs will play in progressive politics. How Madison Avenue sells perpetual adolescence. Considering the nightmarish consequences of leaving Iraq prematurely.
Not the sort of stuff fans of the socialist, labor union-loving In These Times have become accustomed to since the Carter administration. Not because the Chicago-based nonprofit hasn't made its mark on the media landscape year after defiant year. It's just that, since going from biweekly to monthly in 2006, the magazine has a palpable, politically unpredictable energy-a little less worry and a lot more fight.
Turns out it's all about the staff, which is younger, more diverse, and less likely to tolerate doctrinaire bromides. 'We're building community. I read In These Times and I don't feel alone,' explains 27-year-old publisher Tracy Van Slyke. 'But we don't want to be the mouthpiece for the movement, we want to make it better. We want to be provocative.'
According to Van Slyke, who started as a Chicago Reporter intern and is three years younger than the magazine, a number of staffers and contributors are in their 20s and 'more comfortable about critiquing what's working or not working. And people in the alternative media have been hesitant to do that-to criticize the left.'
In These Times has also started showcasing more female voices and regularly features two African American writers-sadly, still an anomaly in the progressive press. You're probably not going to see an essay from Andrew Sullivan anytime soon, of course-but it's a good guess he's reading.
Subscriptions: $19.95/yr. (12 issues); 800/827-0270; www.inthesetimes.com.