What is Discourse Blog?
Discourse Blog is a leftist politics and culture blog/newsletter started in March 2020 by the former staff of Splinter. We write a lot about: political movements, the inept Democratic establishment, the conservative death cult, labor and worker rights, and cultural moments shaping the national conversation. We’re especially interested in media criticism, particularly how the mainstream press covers (or fails to cover) the most important stories of our time. We also just like getting weird or personal. Here are some of our top-performing posts to give you an idea of what we write about:
“How Not to Do Labor Journalism 101” by Paul Blest
There were a thousand ways to tell this story, and NPR chose the worst one.
“They Can't Even Fire Us Right”by Jack Crosbie
You'd think after doing something a couple thousand times the bosses would have the process down.
“Coronavirus Is No Match For America's Narcs” by Samantha Grasso
Even a pandemic won't stop the deranged world of suburbia.
“We're Never Going Back to 'Normal'” by Katherine Krueger
It never existed, and it's sure as hell not coming back.
“Which Side Are You On?” by Jack Mirkinson
It's the people versus the cops. You have to choose.
“Rubber Bullets Don’t Fire Themselves” by Caitlin Schneider
The media keeps using language that obscures the reality of police violence.
“The Minneapolis I Never Knew” by Rafi Schwartz
My city is burning, and I am grappling with how little I understood it.
What are people saying about Discourse Blog?
So many great things!
Paul Blest @pblestNew @discourse_blog: Amy McGrath is a walking reminder of Chuck Schumer's incompetence. https://t.co/nM23incGix
“Journalists Are Leaving the Noisy Internet for Your Email Inbox” — The New York Times
“Checking In With the Newsletter Economy” — New York Magazine (Aug. 31, 2020 issue)
“Is Email the Future of Journalism?”— The New Republic
“Talking objectivity in journalism with Jack Mirkinson” — Columbia Journalism Review
“What’s next for journalists?”— Substack
“Vibe Check With Aleksander Chan”— Medialyte
“In media if you haven’t been laid off it’s just that you haven’t been laid off yet” — Welcome to Hellworld
“Is Elon Musk a Fraud?” — The Intercept’s Deconstructed
“On Discourse ft. Kath Krueger & Jack Crosbie” — The Insurgents
“7/3 Casual Friday w/ Alex Pareene & Jack Crosbie”— Majority Report with Sam Seder
Why are you doing this?
We are primarily motivated by two principles:
We believe there is currently nowhere else to publish the stories we want to write that wouldn’t be compromised by institutional and corporate interests. It’s our fundamental belief that we engender more trust by being transparent and forthcoming about our (political, moral, journalistic) values than pretending we don’t have any. We’re leftists, and we’re happy to tell you so, and it’s our hope that by knowing that, you can read our work more clear-eyed.
We believe the future of journalism lies in truly independent, worker-owned media. Discourse Blog is owned and operated by its workers, with no outside funding. It’s just us and that’s how we want to keep it.
Who are you?
Paul Blest writes about labor, politics, labor politics, and more. He was previously a news editor at Splinter, has written for outlets including the Nation and the American Prospect, and currently works as an A.M. reporter for VICE News. He is based in Raleigh.
Aleksander Chan is the publisher of Discourse Blog, running all its business operations. He was previously the editor in chief of Splinter and has worked at Fusion, Gawker, and the Gothamist network. He is based in New York.
Jack Crosbie writes about conflict, politics, and the media. He was previously a contributing writer at Splinter, and has written recently for Rolling Stone and The Atlantic. He is based in New York.
Samantha Grasso writes about social justice, pop culture, and Texas for Discourse Blog. She was previously a staff writer for Splinter. She also writes for subtext by AJ+, and has also written for Vox, the Texas Observer, and the Daily Dot. She is based in Austin.
Katherine Krueger writes about politics and culture for Discourse Blog. She was previously the managing editor of Splinter. She is the features editor for Elle.com and has worked at Fusion, Talking Points Memo, and The Guardian. She is based in New York.
Jack Mirkinson is the editor in chief of Discourse Blog, where he also blogs about politics and the media. He was previously the deputy editor of Splinter and has worked at Fusion and HuffPost, among other places. He is based in New York.
Rafi Schwartz writes about social justice, protest movements, and the weirder corners of the internet. He was previously a senior writer at Splinter, and has been published in Rolling Stone, Good, Mic, and Heeb Magazine. He is based in the Twin Cities.
Caitlin Schneider writes about the internet, politics, and the media for Discourse Blog. She is also a senior social editor at VICE and was previously the social editor at Splinter. She is based in Los Angeles.
How do I subscribe and how much does it cost?
You can subscribe on the homepage or by clicking the button below. Subscriptions cost $8/month or $85/year.
What do I get for subscribing?
The free plan:
A few posts a week
Daily (Monday through Friday) posts and access to the full archives
Feature stories with deeper reporting
Our franchises, like our interview series Discourses (read our interviews with an Amazon employee fired for union organizing; an NYC public defender; street medics helping protesters; Texas mutual aid workers), and our weird-news round-up, Man, What the Hell?
Down the line, the revenue from paid subscriptions will also allow us to:
Commission outside contributors
Start a podcast
Do more live coverage (with video?) with reader engagement
When you support us by paying for a subscription, you support our mission to do bigger, bolder work and make independent, worker-owned media publications possible. We split revenue evenly between partners and set aside a portion of that money to donate to funds and causes we believe in.
Do you have discounts for students?
We sure do! Click this special link for 50 percent off an annual subscription. Note: This link will only work with .edu email address. Are you a high school student interested in subscribing at a discounted rate? Email us at email@example.com and we can help you.
Discourse Blog is a proud to partner with following:
Discontents, a collective of leftist Substack newsletters.
OptOut, a non-profit news app featuring exclusively independent media.
We also are in a co-publishing partnership with The Objective, a media criticism and reporting newsletter focused on historically under-covered communities.
Interested in partnering with us? Email alekschan at gmail.com.
What’s with the bird?
A starling yelling at the sky perfectly encapsulates what we’re trying to do here. Art by our very own Sam Grasso!
I thought it was a crow?
So did we. It’s a starling.