For the past twenty-five years, Boston Review has had a clear mission. Our goal is to improve the quality of public discussion by providing a forum for robust debate on issues of broad concern: economic inequality, education and democracy, election finance, Islam and democracy, race in American politics, and, in this issue, the resurgence of open misogyny.
While our focus has been steady, we have regularly changed publishing strategies to ensure that we reach the broad readership this mission requires. We started publishing books in 1996, put full issues online in 1997, and, in 2010, changed our print edition from tabloid to glossy.
Now we are excited to announce some new and ambitious changes, all designed to shift our center of gravity from print to the web.
This fall, we will be relaunching a completely redesigned website. You will find it more sharply focused on providing a public forum, with lots of stories that are not in the print edition, more accessible from mobile platforms. It will be easier to share what you like. We are working hard on it now and can’t wait for you to see it (look for it in October).
Print remains important to many of our readers, so we will also be creating a different kind of print edition, which will debut in early 2017, after a short print hiatus this fall. The new format will be thematically driven, deeply invested in our core concerns about inequality and democracy, and will appear less frequently than the current print edition. The new format will feel like a blend of magazine and short book, with crisper focus and a longer shelf life.
Importantly we will be creating a new Boston Review membership program. Like NPR and PBS, BR is a nonprofit organization that provides a public good. Generous support from people who share our goals enables us to offer our online content free of charge. Which is how it should be. Everyone should have easy access to the kind of robust debate that is crucial to a functioning democracy. We would defeat our own purpose if we put up a paywall: we won’t do it, and our members will help keep us free on the web.
By becoming a member, you’ll receive the print issues and even more: previews, event invitations, and editors’ recommended reading. Our subscribers will be hearing soon from our publisher about a special membership offer.
So, a new web presence with the look and feel of a public forum. A new print model with themed issues and lasting value. And a new membership model that invites readers to support our mission. All in service of the same mission, of making our democracy a place of thoughtful engagement on the issues that matter.