Looking for a nice enlightening magazine
December 14, 2009 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me find a good progressive magazine to get? I'm looking for something that has in-depth, credible reporting, isn't too shrill, and covers a variety of political, scientific/environmental, and cultural topics.

I don't want a weekly magazine since I don't find time to read one thoroughly and it generates too much waste. I want something with lots of content in the issues and not too much advertising. I'm pretty sure I want something with a strong liberal/progressive perspective, but articles need to be well-sourced.

Mother Jones seems to fit the bill, but I'm wondering if there's something else I should look at. Utne Reader seems pretty interesting and maybe a little too esoteric, but I'd like to hear what other people think.
posted by thirteenkiller to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
IMO: The New Yorker covers all of your needs. It's one of the best mags in existence.
posted by alrightokay at 7:49 AM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Walrus has great articles that will surely make you think. Always worth picking up.
posted by lizbunny at 7:52 AM on December 14, 2009

Was going to say Mother Jones and the Utne Reader...

2nding the New Yorker and other similar mags (Harper's, Atlantic, etc) but they are less strictly political and tend to have a literary/arts bent to them as well.
posted by jckll at 7:57 AM on December 14, 2009

The New Yorker is a weekly, you said you don't want that. Harper's is always enlightening, if a bit depressing.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:01 AM on December 14, 2009

I know I said I don't want weekly, but I'm looking at New Yorker. My husband likes to read it, so it might get enough love to justify weekly delivery. Looking at others mentioned as well.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:04 AM on December 14, 2009

I like Good and Seed magazines, the latter being a science rag of sorts.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:09 AM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

I read Harper's for many years, but stopped when I got tired of a certain tone that seemed to pervade the magazine. Not shrillness, no, but a sort of smug confidence in reporting the total corruptness of absolutely everything.

My favorite magazine, the one which I honestly look forward to and am disappointed when it's not in the mailbox, is the New York Review. I think it fits your requirements perfectly. It's smart but not esoteric, comes out every two weeks or so (the schedule is, I think, not perfectly regular), and always has something terrific in it. It is a "review", so many of the articles are structured as reviews of books or movies or operas or whatever, and in many cases the articles are more or less "classic" reviews. More frequently, however, the review format is just a jumping off point. The commentary is what you might call "level-headed liberal." Anyhow, I love it.
posted by lex mercatoria at 8:15 AM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

You might try Prospect, it's a UK magazine but has a very international focus. It's left-leaning but also not afraid to publish other viewpoints.
posted by Erberus at 8:19 AM on December 14, 2009

I don't subscribe, but I've really enjoyed some of the feature articles on the Washington Monthly website. It's definitely partisan but I don't find it shrill. 6 issues/year.
posted by ropeladder at 8:21 AM on December 14, 2009

I know you don't want a weekly, but I would strongly encourage you to try the New Yorker. It has such good writing that I find myself reading articles on topics I would generally skip -- like traveling through Siberia or the sport of deep-sea diving. The book and film reviews are also excellent.
posted by fantine at 8:21 AM on December 14, 2009

Seconding The New York Review of Books. My only complaint is that there's too much good stuff in there--it can be heard to keep up.
posted by pasici at 8:39 AM on December 14, 2009

I've always liked The Economist and I think it fits what you're looking for, except that it is also weekly (but I read it online, so no waste).
posted by patheral at 9:15 AM on December 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you're willing to spread your magazine-reading time out over the course of the month and invest a few minutes daily, the online magazine Slate meets all of your other requirements.
posted by alygator at 9:43 AM on December 14, 2009

I haven't read it myself, but some liberal, politically active people in my bookgroup love Yes.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:04 AM on December 14, 2009

Time and again I keep going back to The Atlantic. It's consistently excellent.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:17 AM on December 14, 2009

If your only objection to the New Yorker is the waste, just remember you can get it on Kindle.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:36 AM on December 14, 2009

Oh, and opinions vary as to the excellence of the current Atlantic Monthly.
Much diminished, IMO, since the move and the loss of Michael Kelly.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:41 AM on December 14, 2009

I know you say you don't want a weekly, but here's a vote for subscribing to The Nation.

As for the waste issue, if you work in an office with like minded people, then bring the copies in when you are done with them and leave them in the break room. Works well for a variety of magazines in my office.
posted by gudrun at 11:00 AM on December 14, 2009

Seconding Good and The Walrus both. Both lefty without being preachy. The Walrus especially has long, meaty articles, interspersed with art and short fiction. It's a nice mix.
posted by Pomo at 3:36 PM on December 14, 2009

I recommend The American Prospect - a progressive monthly magazine.
posted by citron at 4:27 PM on December 14, 2009

Thanks for your input, everyone. We went with the New Yorker (in addition to Mother Jones). Just got our first issue this week and I'm loving it.
posted by thirteenkiller at 9:54 AM on January 21, 2010

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