Former Phoenix Reporters Launch Online Alt-Weekly

"The Media" is an ad-free weekly publication trying to fill at least some of the void left by the defunct magazine.


Photo by Bob O’Connor / Post-Production by GLP Creative for “What Happened to the Phoenix?

With The Phoenix long gone, and the red boxes that once held it obsolete from city streets, three former staff members of the historic alt-weekly have launched an online supplement “inspired by the spirit” of the “recently defunct” magazine.

“The Media,” headed by Phoenix Assistant Music Editor Liz Pelly, with help from one of the weekly’s former designers, hopes to put back in place coverage of the alternative arts, culture, music and news, along with grassroots activism, that was lost with the Phoenix’s farewell.

According to the alt-weekly’s mission statement:

The Media aims to bridge the gap between underground presses and mainstream media. Our contributors are often embedded in the communities they cover, but seasoned and skeptical enough to keep the writing balanced, critical, and fair.

The site was launched within a month of the idea’s conception, and was designed by Faye Orlove, who used to be a production artist at the paper-turned-glossy magazine.

Orlove’s brother stepped up to help the duo put the actual website together after they figured out how they wanted it to look, which in the end, they decided, should be like a newspaper. From there, they started putting together editorial content. The online publication says of its choice in aesthetic that they wanted “our content to resonate on its own merit, free of frivolity and flash, and grounded by a homepage that’s striking in its radical simplicity.”

In its debut issue, “The Media” focuses on what was lost when The Phoenix finally folded, but also includes articles about the marijuana industry, and a feature on singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson. Aside from that, there is also some insight in regards to the aftermath of the Boston bombings from former Phoenix Editor-in-Chief Carly Carioli.

Pelly says she is glad there will be a place for writers to submit their work, and hopes down the line they will be able to conjure up some cash and possibly launch fundraising efforts in order to pay contributors. She admits that the online publication won’t ever replace what the Phoenix offered, but the magazine closing shop is what drove the group to launch the site.

Pelly says the break from writing for work, and strictly writing because she wants to, has been refreshing, however. “I have been working in the professional journalism world for so long, it just feels almost like less of a burden to do something not for work or for your job, and just because you really want to be doing it,” she says. “I’m also obsessed with the way that it looks and the design of it…and hopefully people will think it’s a viable publication. Sometimes with a lot of news sites, things can be really distracting and conflicting.”

When asked what she hopes people take from the new site, Pelly says she would like to see it become a successful medium that people can pitch to, which will also be community supported. “I hope it will also reach beyond being a Boston publication, too,” she says.

Fellow writers have already started reaching out to the “staff,” offering up shared space for the team to meet and discuss future issues of “The Media,” according to contributor and former Phoenix staff writer ArielShearer. “I hadn’t considered shared space. It’s all happening really fast, and I don’t know what happens next, but it would be great to have space for editorial meetings.”