You may have flipped through some of the ~300 subscriptions to serial publications (magazines, newsletters, newspapers) held by Mechanics' Institute Library, or perused our collection of eMagazines using your tablet, but there's a whole world of online-only publications out there as well.
One of my personal favorites is The Pudding (as in, "the proof is in the pudding"), a donation-funded for-profit* online magazine that explains the nuances of complex topics using essays that incorporate interactive visualizations. The journalists who run and write this publication function as a collective, using original datasets, primary research, and smart interactivity to deeply explore topics such as subject matter on the podcast This American Life, gender parity in governments around the world, and even the feminist implications of the size of women's pockets.
Some magazines that were once in-print have gone to the online-only model, such as the much-lauded feminist publication Teen Vogue. You can also find some magazine content from your favorite print magazines online, including articles from Film Comment, "The Daily" column and many interviews at The Paris Review, and a limited number of articles per month from The New Yorker before you hit their online-subscriber paywall.
If you'd like to find high-quality information on the web, an online magazine is often a reliable source. One way to seek out reputable online publications is to check awards sites like Information is Beautiful, navigating to their winners or notable mentions; you can also check the Futures of Media Peabody Awards for digital storytelling. Pay attention to publications cited in your favorite podcasts or print sources of news. And always use the basic principles of information literacy to evaluate an article:
- What does the URL or domain name reveal about the source of the information?
- How is the author qualified to present this topic? Do they maintain organizational affiliations that might unduly influence the content of the piece?
- Should the information be classified as fact, opinion, or propaganda?
- Is the article's point of view objective, using bias-free language, and are the sources for factual information clearly listed or explained? Can strongly-worded assertions or quotations be verified by independent means?
If you find a source but aren't sure about its reliability, ask a librarian to help you understand how to evaluate a website for veracity.
And, in honor of Hamilton's imminent return to San Francisco in February 2019, please enjoy one more of my favorite pieces from The Pudding: An Interactive Visualization of Every Line in Hamilton, by Shirley Wu.
*The Pudding's content is free and open to all, and their work is funded by donors, partners, and a select group of advertisers.
Image by Shirley Wu for The Pudding.