Welcome to The Postscript
An experiment, and a place where we can all share and learn from some of the best reporting and writing being done today — and the people and places doing it.
Journalism is difficult. It’s difficult to define, even though everyone has an opinion about what counts. It’s difficult to do, especially as newsrooms shrink and the transition to new business models continues. And it’s difficult to find an audience for — and to build an engaged community around — as platforms proliferate and personalized algorithms increasingly define our media diets.
But I got into journalism because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. As hard as the work can often be, and as flawed as the industry is, there’s nothing like a story well-told and well-reported. There’s the way it can introduce you to people and places you might not otherwise encounter. And the way it can alter your thinking or behavior, or influence the policies that govern your life. There’s the thrill of a propulsive narrative and the satisfaction that comes from learning something new. I chase those feelings every day; I made that chase my work.
Now I’m launching something new. This is The Postscript. It’s a place to remind me — and you — of all the great reporting and writing and storytelling that’s being done, against all of the odds. It’s an attempt to amplify some of the best journalism available today, and a place to learn from that journalism so we can all be better creators and consumers of media. It’s an experiment, a work in progress, and I hope you’ll help me to shape it in the weeks and months to come.
When I became the editor-in-chief of Pacific Standard back in 2015, we changed our tagline to Stories That Matter, and it became our mission to pursue them.
Stories That Matter: Stories that matter are stories that, by virtue of their ideas and craft, are capable of creating a better and more just society.
That worked for years. We used storytelling, investigative reporting, beautiful photography, immersive design, smart aggregation, and other tools of journalism to get people reading and talking and caring about issues we thought were worth their attention. This wasn’t a new idea, but I think we did it particularly well.
Along the way, we earned a bunch of awards, including the industry’s highest honor, a National Magazine Award for Feature Photography, and developed a bunch of 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. It was our belief — it is my belief — that journalism is a team sport, and that it’s best when it’s collaborative and generous. That’s part of what this project is about too.
When Pacific Standard closed in 2019, it was written that the magazine “stood out from the pack of click-hungry websites.” James Fallows told the L.A. Times that “it’s been a really valuable part of the media ecology,” and that the magazine had “been of national and international caliber for more than a decade without just getting into the standard … fray.” Lloyd Grove reported that the shutdown “hit the journalism community especially hard,” with other reporters noting that “I’ve looked to Pacific Standard so many times for examples of great, clear-eyed reporting and elegant (but never over-the-top) writing” and that “Pacific Standard … routinely put out stories that made me burn with jealousy that I didn’t think of them first or do them as well. The world will be worse without it.”
And, ever since, I’ve been looking for a way to bring it back. This isn’t exactly that; it’s not a reboot or a relaunch. You will 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 here. But, most importantly, you’ll see that The Postscript is animated by the same core focus that made the original PS great.
This place, like that last one, is about stories that matter, and we’re using the same definition. This time, though, we’re turning our attention outward, beyond ourselves or our partners. We’ll be looking everywhere — newspapers, magazines, documentaries, podcasts, even other newsletters — to identify great reporting, reporting you can rely on. And we’ll ask you to help us: Follow us on Twitter, where we’ll slowly start to build a community in the weeks to come, and tag great work #storiesthatmatter. We’ll share those in our newsletter, and we’ll talk to the people behind them to collect insights the rest of us can learn from.
At the same time, and if people are interested enough to fund us, we’ll publish some stories of our own — profiles of the people and places doing journalistic work that can and should be replicated elsewhere; original reporting on the industry, with the goal of helping those working in and on journalism to improve their craft, and of making the rest of us smarter consumers of the news; and more. Unlike most newsletters — and especially those that have the most room for improvement — The Postscript won’t be written by any one person, and it wasn’t started as a way to get out from under the thumb of an editor. Ideally, this will be a collection of reporters, editors, and writers, and a community of readers.
Like all new projects, our goals are a bit aspirational, and we’ll see what this becomes and how it evolves over time. The only thing I know for certain is that, as long as it’s active, it will be a place that celebrates the power and potential of great reporting and storytelling. If you have comments, questions, suggestions, story ideas, or feedback of any kind, at any time — or you want to get involved — you can respond directly to this message or email email@example.com.
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.
To join The Postscript community and comment on all articles we publish.
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.
Additional content and context, added to everything we do.
Meet: About the Author
Nick Jackson is an editor and publishing team leader who spends too much time thinking about media. He’s the managing director of editorial at Built In, an online publication for tech professionals, and has been involved in a bunch of other things you may have heard about. In addition to Pacific Standard, he was the editor-in-chief of Atlas Obscura, and has also overseen digital strategy at Outside; helped to launch tech coverage at The Atlantic; reported on politics for Texas Monthly, news for Slate, and architecture for Encyclopaedia Britannica; and served as an adviser to Beacon, a Y Combinator-backed start-up dedicated to finding new ways to support independently produced quality journalism.
Read: The Media Industry
I recognize that there are other places doing similar work or work adjacent to that which I aspire to eventually do here — 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 I regularly draw inspiration. Please read them! And while you’re updating your bookmarks, include The Browser, Longform, Longreads, The Sunday Long Read, and others that regularly share inspiring writing. I hope that The Postscript will be as valuable to someone as many of these outlets are to me.
Connect: Email Me
If you have comments, questions, story ideas, or feedback of any kind, at any time, you can respond directly to this message or email firstname.lastname@example.org.