Facts are the enduring root of the journalistic enterprise, but the craft of journalism isn't just how you gather facts; it's also what you do with them, how you turn data and research into cinematic stories, how nuanced opinion and shared experience can create a spark that allows someone to see an issue differently, to emerge with a different point of view. It's with these ambitions in mind that we're launching the Pacific Standard Ideas section.
The Ideas section is where you'll find big idea pieces, eloquent argument, social and political commentary, narrative essays, analysis of both high and pop culture, voracious books coverage, spirited dialogues and debates, and the occasional eccentricity that doesn't fit anywhere else—all within the orbit of our core coverage areas: social, economic, and environmental justice. It's a place where writers may sometimes lean more heavily on personal experience and the opinions thereby formed, where you'll find familiar voices as well as newcomers working out ideas that matter in a creative space.
We think this is an exciting and necessary time to launch the Ideas section: In the last half-decade, political assumptions that had remained largely unquestioned since the end of the Cold War are newly up for debate; political coalitions are re-forming; a generation that doesn't remember the pieties of American anti-Communism is embracing big new ideas on climate and the political economy. At the same time, explicit American nationalism has gained violent new energy and is seeking to assume the pseudo-respectable trappings of an intellectual endeavor.
Yet mainstream analysis of these developments can often be frustratingly shallow, and the media itself is at a point of crisis. Journalists are being laid off en masse as tech monopolies siphon ad money, and the op-ed pages of the major dailies are faltering, slow to treat seriously any political idea more exotic than an insurance subsidy. Even amid a vogue for fact-checking, a lot of self-identified fact-checkers at legacy outlets don't seem to know what they're doing or why, often importing unexamined ideologies into what they claim as a sober and dispassionate judgment.
How did we get here, politically and culturally? And what do we do now? Pacific Standard's Ideas section will host the pieces by and conversations among the writers, academics, artists, inventors, and thinkers who are helping us understand and navigate these unusual times.
As we embark on this extension of our mission as an independent publisher of journalism in the public interest, we want to hear from you, so we've created a simple survey for you to let us know what you find most important, and what you'd like to see in a culture-and-commentary section. What new questions do you want us to explore? What debates would be most interesting to read (or watch)? What matters to you most from the world of culture and the creators behind it? Respond to our quick (two minutes or less) survey—or you can always send an email or find us on Twitter and Facebook. We want this section to be a conversation—between and among writers, and also with you.
Pacific Standard's Ideas section is your destination for idea-driven features, voracious culture coverage, sharp opinion, and enlightening conversation. Help us shape our ongoing coverage by responding to a short reader survey: