News & Politics

Substack Is Attracting Big DC Journos. Who’s Making the Leap?

Men is typing on laptop computer keyboard

DC journalists have lately been flocking to the digital platform Substack, which lets them monetize their work without being attached to a media outlet. Some of the big players:

Emily Atkin

Previous job: New Republic staff writer.

Substack gig: Heated, a popular newsletter about climate change that she launched in 2019 after almost a decade working for traditional publications. One goal: to cover how the causes of the crisis go much deeper than, say, for­getting to recycle that milk jug.

Lindsay Gibbs

Previous job: Think­Progress sports reporter.

Substack gig: The newsletter Power Plays. Like her podcast, Burn It All Down, it explores the forces that keep women’s athletics from gaining popularity. Or, as she puts it in her Twitter bio, “a no-BS newsletter about sexism in sports.”

Judd Legum

Previous job: Founder of ThinkProgress.

Substack gig: The political newsletter Popular Information, which launched in 2018, making him a pioneer on the plat-form. It was meant as a counter to the horserace campaign coverage that comes out of what he sees as broken journalistic business models.

Andrew Sullivan

Previous job: New York magazine columnist.

Substack gig: The Weekly Dish newsletter. Sullivan has made the decision to head back to his blogging roots after being ousted from New York last summer because of, in his telling, ideological differences with the publication.

Libby Watson

Previous job: New Republic staff writer.

Substack gig: Sick Note, which tackles the failings of the American healthcare system, with a particular focus on the experiences of poor people. The platform’s newest star-journalist convert announced the move in early December.

Matthew Yglesias

Previous job: Senior correspondent and cofounder of

Substack gig: A thinky missive with the punny name Slow Boring. His surprise departure from Vox in November came with the announcement of this new venture, which covers politics and public policy.

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Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.