GUEST BLOG—NewAmerica.org is publishing an online newsletter dedicated to renewing America by continuing its independent quest to
realize our nation’s highest ideals, honestly confronting the challenges caused by rapid technological and social change, and seizing the opportunities those changes create. Created in 2013, New America Weekly this week celebrated its 200th edition. The following are thoughts on that achievement by current staff of New America and selected alums.
Elizabeth Weingarten, Director of New America’s Global Gender Parity Initiative
Jane Greenway Carr, Opinion Producer at CNN
Some of my highest editorial highs: publishing as part of our coverage of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall Grace Hale’s interpretation of the Bruce Springsteen concert in East Berlin that helped facilitate the Wall coming down, incorporating into the “From Moment to Movement” conversations after Ferguson Salamishah Tillet’s analysis of the new protest song when “Glory” won the Academy Award for Best Song, zeroing in as a writer on critical gender and policy issues at the outset of Donald Trump’s campaign, and writing and editing for Edition 89 (“The Past, Present, and Future of the Black Lives Matter Network”) and Edition 94 (“We Need to Care About Care”), which put Anne-Marie Slaughter’s crucial interventions in feminism’s “Unfinished Business” front and center.
There are too many examples of it to list here, but another thing I still relish is the experience of guiding a novice writer through the editing process to a byline and syndication, being a part of helping new voices find their footing in public discourse. I still feel a surge of excitement every Thursday when the Weekly hits my inbox—I know that I’ll find such new voices there, thanks to Fuzz Hogan and the editors who’ve come after me. Happy Birthday, Weekly!
Emily Tamkin, Staff Writer at Foreign Policy
I haven’t worked on the Weekly in a year and a half, and it’s changed since then, which is right and good and in keeping with the spirit a place that has “new” in its name. But when I started at New America, in 2015 (after a stint as Elizabeth’s intern in the summer of 2013), I charged the Weekly with doing three things. First, with having policy writers engage with the news of the day (or the week, or the moment). For example: a piece by Lisa Guernsey on technology and education and the holiday season, and a piece by gender policy analyst and former Weekly editor Elizabeth on why women did not, in fact, need to vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary (remember the Democratic primary?).
Second, I charged it with making readers engage with stories and policies and news with which they otherwise might not engage if it weren’t for the magazine, and to do so in a way that was journalistic. For example, a piece by Alexander Holt on tax-exempt American churches and Icelandic Zuists, arguably the weirdest and therefore best thing I edited. Or a piece by Bina Venkataraman on why we make choices that are beneficial in the short term but not the long term, and why she doesn’t learn to play her grandfather’s dilruba (where else would readers learn about the dilruba?).
And third, I charged it with bringing in new writers from within and outside the organization: up-and-coming academics, your next favorite writer, the next most impactful policy director, young people, women, people of color, young women of color. We ran Heather Hurlburt on discrimination in the workforce, Priya Kumar on Facebook and civil rights (see? we were ahead of the curve!), Emily Hong on gentrification in San Francisco, and Alyssa Sims on how we remember—or don’t remember—9/11 and everything that came after.
I left New America and began a new job a week before the 2016 presidential election. And I think that every piece I just named—every single one, including the tax-exempt churches—touched on something that’s come up again since that election took place. That isn’t because I myself was ahead of a curve. It’s because when you ask people who work in think tanks to engage with their old issues in new ways, and when you go to new people, different people, people who haven’t been given a chance to write for a think tank, and people who haven’t been given a chance to be taken seriously, this is what happens. This is what has to happen.
Jacob Brogan, Editor for the Washington Post’s Outlook/PostEverything
And even as we found our way back to more familiar ground, the election and its consequences hung over the Weekly. Thinking back, though, I’m proudest of the work that tried to imagine a path forward, and most of all, of Rachelle Hampton’s essay “Beyond the ‘Peaceful’ Protest.” There was and is and will be room for informed reflection on cabinet appointments, NATO retrenchment, and more. But as Hampton persuasively argued, in November’s wake, we were also newly obliged to reconsider the way we were speaking.
Brandon Tensley, Assistant Editor at New America
In all that—in all that ruminating by Weekly editors past and present—you’ve probably noticed a trend that’s persisted since Elizabeth created the Weekly Wonk (RIP) in 2013: an indefatigable commitment to cultivating great journalistic talent, especially talent that people may otherwise overlook. The Weekly is only as good as the voices it brings to its pages. Though the times have inflected the specifics of the magazine, I’m proud that its key plank, of detecting omissions—silences—in conversations and then turning them into speech, has never wavered.
Source: New America www.newamerica.org