Mic reboots, with more pop culture coverage and less politics

Mic, an online magazine known for a serious mix of political news and opinion pieces aimed at left-wing millennial readers, has rebooted under new ownership as a more varied publication, with a hint of Rolling. Stone from the 1970s.

“We’re a place where you can read a review of Lil Nas X’s new album and also a column about existential feelings around climate change,” Mic editor Shanté Cosme said in an interview.

Bustle Digital Group, the media company that relaunched Gawker this year, rolled out the revamped Mic on Wednesday, giving readers a long-scrolling site filled with Culture, Identity, Impact and Life stories, as well as photo portraits. and illustrations to opt for a casual-looking design that includes a mix of typefaces.

The makeover was led by Ms Cosme and Joshua Topolsky, Head of Content at Bustle Digital Group, and carried out by a team of seven writers and 13 editors, many of whom were recently hired.

Ms Cosme, 36, and Mr Topolsky, 43, said they found the new editorial identity after long discussions about what worked for the old Mic and what didn’t. Both concluded that it was time to break with the past of publishing.

“The ‘Millennium Political News Website’ is a very outdated concept for many different reasons,” Topolsky said. He added that the target audience for the new mic was “young, diverse, extremely online, very knowledgeable”.

Mic Wednesday’s main story, by Jamal Jordan, a former New York Times reporter, was a profile of actor and producer Issa Rae. The accompanying photoshoot, by Brooklyn photographer Kajal, was performed by Ms. Cosme.

Additionally, there was a first-person essay by music journalist and DJ Kiana Fitzgerald on how Solange’s album “A Seat at the Table” had helped her through a mental health crisis; an essay on the increase in home sales in Florida as the state is rocked by the effects of climate change; a skeptical review of Jon Stewart’s new show for AppleTV +; and an exploration of classism among black Twitter users.

Ms Cosme, who is half Puerto Rican, said it was important to her for Mic to weave her coverage of race and identity seamlessly into the post.

“I am one of the few Latin women to run a newsroom,” she said. “It was really important to me that we had the right identity coverage and that our race coverage wasn’t just relegated to one vertical.

“When Mic was in his prime,” she continued, “he really led the charge in telling these stories, but he also made a lot of mistakes that the media makes when covering the race. Sometimes, it skewed outrage clicks or even race bait. I would say a major difference is that our identity coverage is now much more balanced and nuanced. “

Mic was launched in 2011 by Chris Altchek and Jake Horowitz under the name PolicyMic. In 2015, he landed a video interview with President Barack Obama and soared to a $ 100 million valuation. In 2018, Mic won awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Association of digital radio and television information for an article and video on the opioid epidemic, produced with Time magazine.

But business was bad, in part because of the post’s reliance on fickle traffic from Facebook. In November 2018, Mic laid off 70 of its staff of over 100 and was acquired by Bustle Digital Group for $ 5 million.

Mic has hummed quietly since then. A spokeswoman for Bustle Digital Group said it still attracts readers, with a monthly average of 7.5 million unique visitors this year.

Ms Cosme arrived on board in 2019 and became Mic’s senior editor in January. Prior to joining the publication, she had risen through the ranks for seven years to become the editor of youth media company Complex Networks. Within Bustle Digital Group, the publication she runs is seen as a sort of counterpart to the more mischievous Gawker, which the company rebooted in July.

“We’re coming out of the Gawker launch, which is always very cynical and can always be very funny, and I think Mic is almost in many ways the opposite,” Topolsky said. “He’s very interested in how we can be compassionate to the audience, the stories, and the lives they live.”