The Postscript is a guide to stories that matter — and how they’re made. We share the best reporting and writing being done today, and support the people and processes behind it. By amplifying the work of quality journalists and journalism outlets, and sharing tips, lessons, and other resources, we aim to help those in media to do their jobs well, and also to make smarter news consumers of us all.

What you’ll find on The Postscript:

  • A forward-looking and solutions-oriented approach to news coverage.

  • Collections of great writing and narrative reporting you can rely on.

  • Profiles of the people and places producing work you won’t want to miss.

  • Deep insights on the reporting process behind influential journalism.

  • Readers passionate about stories with the power to make a difference.

And why you should subscribe:

  • To support an independent operation trying to make media a bit better.

  • To read exclusive posts and make most of our work available to everyone.

  • To fund original reporting: Reader revenue directly supports our features.

Plus:

  • 10+ percent of revenue is passed on to some of the publications we cover.

  • For every 100 subscribers, we give away 10 free to those who can’t afford it.

All subscription revenue goes toward donations and payments to the journalism outlets we cover, ongoing operating expenses, and an original journalism fund used to commission exclusive, independent reporting from freelance writers.

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The Postscript: Stories That Matter

Journalism informs and educates us about the world we live in, but it also has the power to change it. A story well-reported and well-told can influence both public policy and private behavior; it can shape and alter the lives of its subjects and also its readers and listeners and viewers, of entire communities. It’s an incredible tool, and one that is essential to any functioning democracy.

But it’s a tool that must be wielded with care and precision. Handled poorly, and at its worst, it can inflict damage — its influence expressed in unintended or unwelcome ways. Or it might not be handled at all: As the media industry has evolved, we’ve lost countless jobs and news outlets around the world, and audiences have moved elsewhere. We have plenty of examples; we hear about them often. And when we do, it might be easy to believe that journalism today does more harm than it does good — or that it doesn’t do much of anything at all.

We don’t subscribe to this belief.

There’s a lot to love about the news landscape if you just look closely. Non-profit and non-traditional publications are launching at a record pace — some of them as newsletters — with many focused on providing essential information to local neighborhoods and small affinity groups. Newsrooms are unionizing, with workers demanding better support systems and pay. Reported podcasts and other formats are multiplying, reaching new audiences all the time. Analytics are driving decision-making and that, combined with the shift from advertising to direct support, has resulted in more work that aligns with readers’ needs.

We could go on. And we will. Many of these new outlets — and plenty more traditional publications that have reinvented (or are reinventing) themselves — and the people who work for, with, or on them, are regularly producing inspiring, influential work. We want to celebrate and share that work, to put it in front of an audience that might not otherwise see it, an audience made up of those working in the industry and those outside it who are just looking for and interested in the kind of reporting they can rely on. And we want to learn from that work, sharing insights from reporters and editors that can shape other projects and stories.

Journalism can be, and often is, a force for good. And we want to amplify it.

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The Story Behind the Name

This is a place for media creators and media consumers. This is The Postscript.

  • Because there’s more to every story. And we want to provide a bit of background to the news and information you consume: how it’s made and comes together, who’s behind it, and why it was assigned in the first place.

  • Because annotations — notes, credits, additional resources and reading for you to continue learning, contextual linking, and guidance on how you can take action — allow for a richer, more complete reading experience.

  • Because we talk about what comes after a story is published, its influence.

  • And because it’s a fun play on Pacific Standard, known more commonly as PS, which has inspired — and shares a bit of DNA with — this entire project.

Pacific Standard’s tagline was Stories That Matter, defined as stories that, by virtue of their ideas and craft, are capable of creating a better and more just society. That was the mission of the magazine, guiding the kinds of work it commissioned and aimed to produce and publish. That worked for years, right up until it didn’t, earning numerous accolades, including the industry’s highest honor, a National Magazine Award for Feature Photography, and leading to partnerships with the Marshall Project, Magnum Photos, The Center for Public Integrity, the Guardian, The Food & Environment Reporting Network, The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, The Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and many others. All places that are among the many outlets still producing stories that matter. Pacific Standard was never the only one, not by a long shot, and now, in the spirit of collaboration that drove so much of what PS did, The Postscript will aim to share their work.

You’ll see some stories republished from the Pacific Standard archives, updated with new information. And you’ll see some of the names that wrote and worked for Pacific Standard contributing original material. Most importantly, you’ll see that The Postscript is animated by a lot of the same ideas that made PS great.

We recognize that there are other places doing similar work or work adjacent to that which we aspire to do — the Columbia Journalism Review, Nieman Lab, Study Hall, The Open Notebook, The Journalist’s Resource from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center and the Carnegie-Knight Initiative, Poynter, Solutions Journalism Network, and The Objective, to name just a few from which we regularly draw inspiration — and we hope you’ll read them regularly as well. We believe there cannot be too many resources about an industry this important.

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Editorial Overview

Our Mission

The Postscript is a guide to stories that matter — and how they’re made. We share the best reporting and writing being done today, and support the people and processes behind it. By amplifying the work of quality journalists and journalism outlets, and sharing tips, lessons, and other resources, we aim to help those in media to do their jobs well, and also to make smarter news consumers of us all.

Some Things We Believe In

Picking up the phone; well-developed characters; government documents and the Freedom of Information Act; telling the truth, with no special favor; the Oxford comma; afflicting the comfortable; propulsive, fact-checked narrative; clean, copy-edited prose; showing your work; local, on the ground, community reporting; collaborative journalism and innovative partnerships in media.

And Some Things We Don’t

Topics masquerading as stories; unfocused/wavering ideas; anything that reads like you might have been paid by a corporation or a politician to write it; unlabeled sponsored content; storytelling that doesn’t respect the reader; pretending you’ve done original reporting when you haven’t; relying on the work of others without crediting them; palling around with sources; PR emails.

Sharing Stories That Matter

If you have a story — whether you wrote it or read it — that you think we should consider for our ongoing Q&A series, include in an email, or is just deserving of more attention because of the quality of reporting or storytelling involved, please consider tweeting it with the hashtag #storiesthatmatter. We won’t miss it.

Statement of Independence

The Postscript maintains a firewall between editorial decisions and all sources of revenue, though, as a small, reader-supported project, we may occasionally take into consideration ideas offered by our community of subscribers. This separation ensures that financial support does not present a conflict of interest for any original journalism we produce or compromise our independence.

Gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals and organizations help to fund our work, but our decisions are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. And acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or any of their positions.

We may accept financial support for reporting on particular topics, but our team determines what those topics are and retains full control of resulting coverage.

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Acknowledgement: The Postscript established this policy in accordance with standards developed by the Institute for Nonprofit News, while finding further guidance in the editorial independence policies and guidelines of The Trace.


FAQ

[Editor’s Note: This section was written before The Postscript officially launched, and so, at that time, none of these questions had been frequently asked — in fact, they had never been asked once. But we thought you might want to know more.]

Why Should I Subscribe?

Subscribe to The Postscript and you won’t have to worry about missing anything that we publish; every new edition of the newsletter will be sent directly to your email inbox. You’ll also help to support what we believe to be a worthwhile endeavor, and allow us to continue it: sharing some of the best reporting and writing being done today, and supporting the people and processes behind it.

You can shape this project too. This is an experiment, a labor of love from some folks who care a lot about what’s working — or has worked — in media, and amplifying that work in order to encourage more of it, and we welcome your feedback. Become a subscriber to access to any group discussions we have.

In addition, 10 percent of all reader revenue (after fees) is donated to media outlets doing the kind of work we highlight, or used to license stories and bring them out from behind a paywall for our audience. The rest goes toward operating expenses and an original journalism fund that allows us to pay all contributors, even if only a nominal amount. The more subscribers we have, the more we can pay, and we’ll revisit our standard rates if interest in what we’re building allows.

And, when you subscribe to The Postscript, you’re joining a community of readers who subscribe not just to this product but to our mission.

Support Our Work With a Subscription

If you’re able and want to give more than the recommended monthly or annual recurring subscription fee; support a particular series like our Stories That Matter interviews, which is where we talk to the people behind some of the best and most influential journalism being done today; or offset specific costs, like the transaction fees we incur to pay international independent contractors or the accounting fees and taxes that come with running a small business, please reach out to us directly at editor@thepostscript.org. We’re set up as an LLC, not a 501(c)3, and so any donations are not currently tax deductible, but we really do appreciate every dollar, and we will do our best to put them to good use.

Can You Give Me the Bullet-Point Version?

You should subscribe to The Postscript on a recurring basis because you will:

  • Join a community of readers who believe in the power of storytelling.

  • Support a small, independent publication trying to make media a little bit better by sharing and celebrating some of the best reporting and writing being done today, and supporting the people and processes behind it with our own original reporting, resources, and other materials.

  • Gain access to subscriber-only stories and help to make all of our public posts and resources free for everyone to experience and learn from, forever (or at least as long as we keep this newsletter and site up and active).

  • Contribute to our original journalism fund, which goes toward commissioning feature stories about the media industry.

  • Donate to media outlets doing the kind of work we celebrate here: At least 10 percent of all reader revenue is passed on to other publications.

  • Offset the cost of any subscriptions donated to students of journalism.

  • Help to cover our ongoing costs and operating expenses.

Sounds Great. What If I Can’t Afford It?

For every 100 paying subscribers, we give away 10 free to those who can’t currently afford it. If that’s you, complete this form — no additional explanation needed, no questions asked. If and when your subscription is comped, you’ll receive an email from Substack at the address you provide with all of the details.

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Who’s Behind The Postscript?

Unlike most newsletters — and especially the ones that have the most room for improvement — The Postscript isn’t written by any one person, and it wasn’t started as a way to get out from under the thumb of an editor. This is a collection of reporters, editors, and writers who care about journalism and the role it plays in a functioning democracy. A full list of contributors is available here; it’s an impressive bunch, with a range of experiences across the media landscape.

When you subscribe, you support all of us and the work we do and stand for. Everyone who creates an original piece of content for The Postscript, whether they’re conducting an interview, curating and summarizing reporting you can rely on for our weekly reader, writing a personal essay, or reporting out a lengthy feature story, is compensated for their work, as are those who support that work, including editors, fact-checkers, copy-editors, illustrators, and designers.

OK, Neat. But Who Sends Out Every Story?

Oh, right. Hi. That’s me, Nick Jackson. I’m an editor and publishing team leader who spends way too much time thinking about media. I’m currently the managing director of editorial at Built In, an online publication for tech professionals, and I’ve been involved in a bunch of other things you may have heard about. I was the editor-in-chief of Pacific Standard and Atlas Obscura, and have also overseen digital strategy at Outside; helped to launch science and technology coverage at The Atlantic; and reported on politics for Texas Monthly, news for Slate, and architecture and design for Encyclopaedia Britannica (where I successfully convinced the editors to print “beatboxers,” in a profile I wrote of Bjork, for the first time in over 240 years — though they insisted on scare quotes).

I’ve also held an associate publisher position, during which time I worked to secure revenue for non-profit reporting in the public interest, and was an early adviser to Beacon, a Y Combinator-backed start-up dedicated to finding new ways to support independently produced quality journalism.

Consider Giving a Gift Subscription

Because it seems relevant to this project, I’ll share that it’s been said that I “care about the future of publishing and [am not] afraid to innovate in an industry which desperately needs it” and that I “know [my] stuff and [am] proud to be cultivating stories that inform and change people’s lives.” I’m still trying to do that, though now in newsletter form (innovation!) — and I need your help. Nick

Uncomfortably Kind Testimonials

“I owe my favorite feature of my career to Nick. He took my musings and — effortlessly, it seemed — shaped them into an award-winning cover story. Nick is all those things a great editor should be — empathetic, sharp, intuitive. But he’s also a total blast to work with. In this fraught moment, I cherished writing for someone who not only understands the power and urgency of a good story, but also knows how to have fun in the process of telling it.” —Elaina Plott

“In addition to his generosity and insightfulness, Nick is that rare kind of editor, one who can glimpse into the core of a story and locate its most powerful iteration. While helping me with a cover story, Nick teased out latent ideas in the draft and helped me express them more forcefully. Any writer would be lucky to receive his stewardship and intelligence.” —Barret Swanson

“Nick is one of the few editors who understands the shape of the media industry today but has a vision of how to make it better. It was such a pleasure to work with an editor who focused not only on crafting a good story, but was concerned about its impact — all you can ask for as a writer.” —Lois Parshley

“Nick is one of the smartest editors I’ve ever worked with. First, he took a pitch from a random charity worker with an essay he wrote on spec. A few years later, once that charity worker was a freelancer who had gotten way too attached to a reporting assignment, Nick turned a sprawling, 8,000-word mess into an actual story. He’s patient, thoughtful, and ruthless in track changes when he needs to be. Most importantly, he built Pacific Standard into the kind of publication journalists want to read and work for.” —Michael Hobbes

“From the first day I met Nick, I was struck by his intellectual curiosity, his creativity, his irreverent humor, his energy, and his confidence.” —Pam Colloff

How Can I Reach You?

Send a note to editor@thepostscript.org; we accept compliments, complaints, concerns, questions, story pitches, and any ideas you might have about what we should do (or do more of), or what we should do better. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can — especially if you’re one of the people who sends compliments.