Best Magazines of the Decade

| 12/31/2009 10:23:33 AM

As a magazine that represents the best of the alternative press, we knew we should cobble together a collection of the decade’s best and brightest as the “Aughts” come to a close. We considered locking ourselves in a room with stacks of magazines, piles of journals, lists of newsletters, and strong emotions, to create such a list from scratch... until we remembered that we do that already every year for the Utne Independent Press Awards. So, behold! A list of the best magazines of the decade, as determined by Utne Reader editors from 2000 to 2009.* Each of these magazines won the award for general excellence, and with the exception of one—The Ecologist, which now unfortunately publishes online only—all continue to do excellent work in print. And all would make excellent belated Christmas gifts for the mainstream media–fatigued in your life. Here are the winners, and what we had to say about them at the time:

2000: Mother Jones
"After raising hell with its investigative reporting for more than 30 years, San Francisco’s bimonthly Mother Jones remains a living—and lively—tribute to its rabble-rousing, union organizing namesake."

2001: The Ecologist **
"To anyone who breathes air, drinks water, eats food, and enjoys nature, the Ecologist is a reliable and long-standing British friend, covering environmental issues with dogged assurance. The 37-year-old magazine publishes gutsy activist journalism that takes on agrigiants like Monsanto; sharp and soundly argued commentaries; unvarnished green consumer advice; and revealing, deeply researched features."

2002: The Nation
"America’s oldest weekly magazine remains a vital voice in any discussion of politics or culture. Probing investigative reports, incisive international coverage, a stable of top-notch writers, and wide-ranging writing on many aspects of American society keep The Nation consistently in the forefront of the best of the alternative press."

2003: The American Prospect
"A bimonthly that lifts political writing out of the mire of Washington Gossip and scandal, The American Prospect offers a practical vision of public life and policy shaped by 'the liberal imagination.'”

2004: Orion
"This gorgeous bimonthly journal of nature and political thought can be counted on to provide some of America’s most eloquent and impassioned essays in defense of the environment and social change."

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