Independent magazines are getting serious. We’ve already explored this notion before, arguing that without the need to chase clicks, indie publishers can cover news that gets left out in the headlines, and discuss it in a more nuanced way. We love being challenged by these editors and their new perspectives on big, difficult ideas, so here are our 10 top independent magazines that cover current affairs.
Created to inspire positive action, Weapons of Reason tackles the biggest challenges faced by the world today. It presents information in digestible writing and playful infographics, and at the end of each feature, there’s a call to action — further reading, a charity to join, an NGO to support. Published in a pocket-sized format, it’s an intelligent, yet accessible overview of the most pressing and interconnected global issues. See our review of their latest issue, themed power.
Launched just last year, Migrant Journal taps into the movement of people, goods and information. It’s a six-issue look at the phenomenon and how it impacts contemporary life. Their first issue travelled to rural lands on the margins of countries, examining how the refugee crisis is affecting those environments. Their second will dive into a paradox: while people are increasingly restricted from movement, capital, on the other hand, is crossing borders like never before.
When was the last time you felt baited by a headline? And for those in the UK, were you lured into those live, rolling election news feeds, where every movement of a politician, every tweet from an organisation, was aggregated like an erratic stream of consciousness? An antidote to this ‘churnalism’ is Delayed Gratification. Championing slow journalism, it wants to put being right over being first, and examine the news three months after the dust has settled, to provide a final analysis of the news that mattered.
Founded by the Rationalist Association, New Humanist promotes rational inquiry, and debate based on evidence rather than belief. They take a scientific approach to current affairs, and their writing is fuelled by clear thinking. Most recently, they questioned the increasing value put on empathy, and explored how a history of conquest is shaping the present. It’s one of those magazines that will have you mulling over its ideas days after you flip through its pages.
The mission statement of Little Atoms resonates with that of New Humanist — to promote rationalism, science and free inquiry. But the organisation started out as a radio show, then eventually took form as the editorial website it is today. The yearly print magazine is an intelligent, accessible and engaging journal of interviews and features on politics, science, and culture.
With a firm, left-leaning stance, Jacobin offers socialist perspectives on politics, economics and culture. They analyse the rise and fall of political parties around the world, exploring ways in which civilians can band together and asking what sort of change they can effect. With the aid of lean infographics and playful design, this magazine can make even the most dense political theory seem palatable.
Founded in 2006, Good launched to engage global change-makers around the conversation of living well and doing good. They believe that there is a way to make things better, and their issues are packed with constructive discussions on issues faced by the world today. The most recent issue examines how to thrive in the age of Trump, and asks important questions about how his administration will handle gun control, abortion, and climate issues.
As the name suggests, Positive News’ reporting focuses on the good, but that doesn’t mean it disregards issues with negative impact — on the contrary, the magazine examines society’s biggest challenges, but through a lens of progress and possibility. Their constructive journalism is a hope-filled antidote to fear-mongering and sensationalised media.
Future Perfect gives a uniquely Australian perspective on world news. Editor Nicholas Watts first set out to create an aesthetically distinct magazine with content that would challenge the way people think. What was born out of a response to the Australian media became an alternative perspective to the news that’s refreshing and insightful.
Though not a straightforward ‘news’ title, Real Review aims to look at “what it means to live today”. And through this investigation, insightful observations of the social structures around us emerge. Take their examination of Uber — drivers feed data into an artificial intelligence that will one day make their cars autonomous, so in effect, the harder the drivers work, the more precarious their own jobs become. Plus, we love that their ingenious bi-fold design is made using traditional newspaper-folding machines.
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