Spotlight’s Oscar win this week got cheers from newsrooms across the country. And it got us thinking about which newsrooms today are making the most exciting and influential journalism.
We’re shining a spotlight (sorry, couldn’t resist) on our favorites — and they’re not the outlets you’d expect. A few of them haven’t even celebrated their third birthdays yet.
As you look for reporters to pitch on your cause and add to your media lists, check out these 11 surprising online outlets that our media team reads, pitches, and geeks out about:
1. Refinery29 is not a beauty blog. Well, ok it is. But it’s becoming so much more by boasting a News vertical with smart content and an engaged audience that TIME should envy. Their Syria coverage is beyond beautiful.
2. HuffPost’s Highline rises above the usual HuffPost chaos and gives tough issues the space they need to be understood. Founded by two former The New Republic editors who took part in the recent walkout, we look to Highline for unexpected longreads.
3. Wait But Why’s writer, Tim Urban, is like the teenager who takes apart his family TV to learn how it works and then grows up to be Bill Gates. He doesn’t stop unpacking his subjects until they are spread out across the floor in 100 pieces. His Elon Musk bio-blog will make you question your life choices.
4. The Marshall Project is a niche outlet and important email newsletter specializing in justice reform.They partner with established news orgs like NPR, NYT, and Frontline to shine a light on dark issues like the death penalty.
5. Colorlines is where we go when we want to know (or pitch) the next big conversation. Their trending topics at the time of writing are: Gender & Sexuality, Islamophobia, and Police Violence.
6. Vox is a soaring example of a young e-magazine with influence. It helps that Ezra’s at the helm but so many of their writers are going deep and covering up-and-coming topics. They also are the new media boss on social media. We always slow our Twitter scroll when we see the @Vox and @VoxMaps logos in our feed.
7. BuzzFeed, you guys. When they write, they really write. And their wonderfully diverse writers tell fearless stories you don’t read in mainstream news. Maybe they’re just overcompensating for the row of Zac Efron listicles on the right sidebar. Whatever it is, it’s working. (And right now we’re really feeling the age-old proverb that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t mock listicles.)
8. The Lucky Peach is delicious. Chefs write many of the pieces, which makes it an important and authentic voice when they write about unexpected social issues like global warming and cooking.
9. Bloomberg Gadfly is for numbers nerds. It’s also hard to describe. We guess you could call it a nonstop economic news ticker with stories from Bloomberg’s economics reporters. We’ll always have a soft-spot for Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight but right now, Gadfly’s the site we wonder about.
10. Fusion covers pop and tech culture through a social lens. If you want to piggyback your cause on a cultural moment, Fusion is the place to jump on to.
11. Reveal is the Center for Investigative Reporting’s new print and radio journalism brand. Like their courageous peers from ProPublica and the Center for Public Integrity, Reveal is constantly breaking through with news that will break your heart.
There’s plenty there to fill up your RSS feed — but did we miss anyone you can’t get enough of? Let us know @mrcampaigns.
— M+R (@MRCampaigns) February 29, 2016
P.S. I love working at M+R. My co-workers are some of the smartest, kindest, coolest nerds I’ve ever met. And we work with amazing clients that are changing the world in truly meaningful ways. And sometimes there is cake.
We’re hiring a bunch of people right now — know someone who might like it here? Check out our job openings and spread the word.