Editor, Newsroom Leader, Media Consultant
I’m an award-winning editor and publishing team leader — with experience launching new editorial products, organizing and motivating teams around ambitious goals, maximizing the impact of newsroom budgets, producing journalism of exceptional quality, and developing and managing media partnerships — who believes in using the tools of journalism to start informed, civil conversations, and to engage, inform, and inspire audiences across platforms.
Currently the senior director of editorial at Built In and an independent publishing consultant providing strategic advice and editorial services to a variety of clients, I was previously the editor-in-chief of Pacific Standard. Before that, I worked as an editor, writer, and digital director at The Atlantic, Outside, Slate, Texas Monthly, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and other publications, both online and in print. I was also the first editor-in-chief of Atlas Obscura.
Nieman Lab: Predictions for 2021: Blogging Is Back, but Better
“The primary difference is that these blogs, these magazines, these whatevers, will be built and guided by the individual creators for their audience, not by the executives they once reported to.”
Nieman Lab: Predictions for 2020: What’s Left of Local Gets Comfortable With Reader Support
“Forcing editors and publishers to think about how best to find reader support in order to access additional funds is encouraging thinking that should have started 10 years ago. Better late than never.”
Nieman Lab: Predictions for 2019: More Transparency Around Newsroom Decisions
“Readers are paying attention — that’s what you want, isn’t it? — and they now have the tools to push back and to challenge our decisions.”
Nicholas Jackson (born 1987) is an award-winning American editor, media strategist, and newsroom leader who has held several high-profile positions with large national magazines, including The Atlantic, Outside, and Pacific Standard, which reported on social and environmental justice issues from its headquarters in Santa Barbara, California. He is best known for his innovative work with traditional media outlets — including launching and overseeing new areas of coverage, engineering rapid audience expansion, and bridging the print-digital divide — as well as his participation in experiments to find new ways of funding critical reporting and ambitious storytelling. It’s been said that “he cares about the future of publishing and isn’t afraid to innovate in an industry which desperately needs it” and that “he knows his stuff and is proud to be cultivating stories that inform and change people’s lives.” He was twice named to Folio: magazine’s annual Under 30 list “spotlighting the younger professionals driving media’s next-gen innovation” and won his first National Magazine Award at a record-breaking 29 for “Adrift,” a photo essay that took readers on a search-and-rescue mission for refugees in the Mediterranean with the international relief organization Doctors Without Borders. He was a finalist two years later, in 2019, for Terese Marie Mailhot’s “Silence Breaking Woman,” a personal essay about surviving racism as a Native writer.
In addition to magazines, he has worked for Slate’s news aggregation team and Encyclopaedia Britannica, where he wrote profiles of pop-culture icons ranging from Bjork to David Letterman and covered architecture and design, and was the first editor-in-chief of Atlas Obscura, an online publisher devoted to discovery and exploration founded in 2009 by author Joshua Foer and documentary filmmaker Dylan Thuras. He started in journalism at the age of 14 by writing letters to the editor of the Daily Herald, a newspaper based in Arlington Heights, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and went on to intern at Texas Monthly in Austin, Texas, where, among other responsibilities, he covered Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and helped then-executive editor Pamela Colloff with transcription for her oral history project on the standoff between David Koresh and the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the Branch Davidian compound outside of Waco, Texas. As a consultant and strategist, he has done freelance work for a number of organizations, including the public relations and marketing consultancy firm Edelman, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Knight Science Journalism program, and World Sport Chicago, the “living legacy” of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
He has participated in several panel discussions on the future of journalism, combating fake news, and building more collaboration within and among media outlets, and has discussed his work on various international radio and television programs, including the BBC Radio 1 in the United Kingdom, “Q” on Canada’s CBC Radio One, and C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” out of the District of Columbia. He has interviewed several public figures of note, including the political commentator and former White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers and Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein in front of sold-out crowds at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara, California. A member of the American Society of Magazine Editors, he regularly judges the National Magazine Awards, which honor “superior execution of editorial objectives, innovative techniques, noteworthy enterprise, and imaginative design” in an annual competition.
Jackson is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, where he concentrated on magazine editing and filled various roles with student journalism outlets the Daily Northwestern and North by Northwestern, and served as the editor-in-chief of both the Summer Northwestern and Chicago Unzipped, a 384-page guidebook to the city produced by more than 50 undergraduate writers and photographers from several area universities. In 2017, he was profiled in Medill’s alumni magazine. While an undergraduate, he was also part of the launch team and then editor-in-chief of the Weekly, a magazine-style weekly insert in the Daily Northwestern, the only daily print publication for Northwestern University and the city of Evanston, Illinois (pop. 75,000). In addition to Medill, he is a graduate of The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, an experimental three-year residential high school founded by Nobel laureate Leon Lederman, director emeritus of nearby Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; while a student at IMSA, Jackson was the opinion editor of the Acronym, the school’s student newspaper, and a marketing intern at SciTech Hands On Museum, a 30,000-square-foot interactive science museum located in a historic post office in Aurora, Illinois. Focused, at that time, on coverage of pop culture and the arts, he contributed critical music commentary and reviews to Filter, Sound the Sirens, and a variety of other outlets.
Over the years, his interests — as both an editor and a writer — have shifted and evolved. He’s overseen coverage of everything from science and technology to health and food (and alcohol) to extreme sports to climate change and the environment. He’s sent writers and photographers all over the world, including Everest Base Camp for an entire climbing season; worked on a story package that brought together writers and high-profile public figures from all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories); and helped to make a magazine from start to finish over one 48-hour weekend. As an editor, he’s been praised for “[maintain[ing] [a] dedication to all kinds of diversity](https://www.genderavenger.com/blog/2014/5/14/avital-andrews),” and for “paying promptly and valuing writers.” Unless you count the business and future of media (regardless of what form it takes, or where it lives), he doesn’t follow one specific beat; instead, the unifying thread to his body of work is a desire to motivate and work with ambitious writers and reporters to do their best work, finding and telling stories of consequence — no bullshit, no fluff.
Jackson was the third editor-in-chief of Pacific Standard, a national magazine that combined research with ambitious narrative and investigative reporting, from 2015 to 2019 (previously serving as associate publisher, during which time he worked to create new revenue streams for non-profit journalism in the public interest). When the Columbia Journalism Review profiled the magazine in 2014 because it had “taken the Internet by storm,” heavy emphasis was placed on the then-recent site redesign spearheaded by Jackson, brought in nine months earlier as digital director; writer Sarah Laskow described Jackson as “a young editor who has thought hard about how to make the Internet work for places like The Atlantic and Outside.” When he was appointed editor-in-chief the following year, Jackson re-positioned the magazine to tell “stories that matter,” focusing most heavily on social and environmental justice.
Under Jackson’s leadership, Pacific Standard earned numerous accolades, including the industry’s highest honor, a National Magazine Award for Feature Photography; it also earned a Mirror Award for Best Profile from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, a Silver Medal for Feature Design from the Society of Publication Designers, and multiple arts and entertainment awards from the Los Angeles Press Club, among many others. The magazine was recognized by the National Association of Science Writers and the Society of Environmental Journalists for its investigative environmental journalism, and works that first appeared in Pacific Standard have been optioned for film and radio and featured in multiple anthologies, including Best American Essays, Best Food Writing, Best American Science and Nature Writing, and What Future: The Year’s Best Ideas to Reclaim, Reanimate & Reinvent Our Future.
In addition to earning industry awards, Pacific Standard’s national and international journalism — most often produced independently but occasionally in collaboration with other leading publications, including The Marshall Project, Magnum Photos, The Center for Public Integrity, the Guardian, The Food & Environment Reporting Network, The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, The Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and others — was frequently referenced in journal articles, taught in classrooms, and deployed by state and congressional leaders. Pacific Standard's reporting has been cited, for example, by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Richard Blumenthal, and by Congresspeople Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Don Beyer.
When Pacific Standard closed in 2019, it was written that Jackson “led a superb editorial team over his six years there” and that the magazine “stood out from the pack of click-hungry websites.” James Fallows told the Los Angeles Times that “it’s been a really valuable part of the media ecology,” and that Pacific Standard had “been of national and international caliber for more than a decade without just getting into the standard political news fray.” The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove reported that the shutdown “hit the journalism community especially hard,” with other reporters noting that “I’ve looked to Pacific Standard so many times for examples of great, clear-eyed reporting and elegant (but never over-the-top) writing” and that “Pacific Standard was the best dedicated source for social science coverage anywhere, and routinely put out stories that made me burn with jealousy that I didn’t think of them first or do them as well. The world will be worse without it.”
Prior to joining Pacific Standard as digital director, Jackson was the digital editorial director of Outside in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he was responsible for all digital efforts — website, newsletters, social media — of America’s leading active-lifestyle and adventure-travel magazine. With a team of six and an annual budget of $1 million-plus, he grew traffic to OutsideOnline.com by more than 300 percent in a one-year period. Before that, he was simultaneously the editor-in-chief of Atlas Obscura and an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he launched the oversaw the magazine’s health coverage online and was part of a two-person team that developed TheAtlantic.com’s technology channel and video strategy.
He is also a longtime officer of The International Association for Literary Journalism Studies, a multi-disciplinary learned society whose essential purpose is the improvement and encouragement of scholarly research and education in literary journalism. IALJS organizes an annual international conference and produces both a quarterly newsletter for members and a twice-annual, peer-reviewed journal that publishes scholarly articles on the theory, history, and pedagogy of literary journalism throughout the world. He was an early adviser to Beacon, a Y Combinator-backed start-up dedicated to finding new ways to support quality journalism.
National Magazine Award: Feature Photography
Pacific Standard won the National Magazine Award for Feature Photography in 2017 for “Adrift.” Other finalists in the category, which honors the use of photography in a feature story, photo essay, or photo portfolio, included The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic (twice). The award citation from the American Society of Magazine Editors read: Sensitively paced and complemented by elegant typography, Francesco Zizola’s photographs of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean combine a strong visual perspective with a powerful narrative voice.
Folio’s 15 Under 30 (2012)
“With just over five months under his belt as digital editorial director for Outside, Nicholas Jackson has taken the reins on the magazine’s digital presence as overseer of its website and digital staff. Prior to joining the Outside team in April of 2012, Jackson worked at The Atlantic for a year and a half assisting the launch of the technology and video channels, as well as taking control of the life channel and managing the daily operations of the health channel. Under Jackson’s authority, Outside’s digital team is improving online navigation and functionality by refining how content is showcased, engaging the audience with more social media, and overhauling the site’s commenting platform. Outside Online’s August 2012 audience is more than four times that of August 2011.”
Folio’s 30 Under 30 (2017)
“Since assuming editorial leadership of Pacific Standard in 2015, Nicholas Jackson has renewed the magazine’s editorial vision. With limited resources, Jackson has made Pacific Standard a must-read for those interested in working toward forward-looking solutions to social and environmental problems by focusing on private behavior and public policy. Jackson’s accomplishments include numerous industry accolades, a complete redesign and improved internal workflow, implementing a platform-agnostic approach to publishing across print and digital, and expanding the print magazine’s frequency from six to eight issues per year.”
Interviews About the Industry
Sinkhole: Storytelling Is at the Root of Making Change
“I mentioned stories that matter and that is the overarching objective — that idea guides everything we do. Every day we aim to find the stories that can make a difference. Sometimes, on our best days, we’re successful at that, and, when we are, the results can be impressive.”
KCBX: Central Coast Voices: Pacific Standard
“Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with Pacific Standard magazine editors Nicholas Jackson, editor-in-chief, Jennifer Sahn, executive editor, and Ryan Jacobs, deputy editor, as they discuss how Pacific Standard tells stories about society’s biggest problems, both established and emerging, and the people attempting to solve them.”
Mr. Magazine: Pacific Standard Magazine – A Magazine Worth Printing With Stories That Matter
“Nick Jackson is editor in chief of Pacific Standard and has brought the brand into this redesign boldly and confidently, anxious to show readers the positive changes that have been made. Nick comes from a background that includes such giants in publishing as The Atlantic, Slate, and Outside magazines. He knows his stuff and is proud to be cultivating stories that inform and change people's lives.”
C-SPAN: Washington Journal: Future of the Labor Economy
“Nicholas Jackson talked about his cover story in Pacific Standard on the future of the labor economy.”
The OPEN Notebook: How Much Time Should I Spend Preparing a Pitch?
“A lot of people will tell you to stick to a three-paragraph pitch structure: introduce yourself and explain why you're the best person to tell this story, explain the story, and get out by convincing the assigning editor that this story is right for his or her publication. The first part is easy — I hope; the second two call for more work, and time. But this is silly. All publications are different; all editors are different; and, most importantly, all stories are different (or they should be).”
Focused primarily on magazine-quality journalism — in all formats, at all lengths, and across industries and platforms — and the structure, staffing, and processes necessary to support it, I provide strategic advice and editorial services to a variety of publishers and organizations looking to tell great stories that have the potential for impact, whether it’s changing policy or influencing personal behavior.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Knight Science Journalism Program
I served as co-editor of The KSJ Science Editing Handbook, a year-long project of the Knight Science Journalism program — with support from the Kavli Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education — to empower editors to ask the right questions, enable them to spot faulty reporting or flawed science, and to provide information on best practices in reporting on science and the many subjects, now more critical than ever, that it touches, whether the environment or a pandemic. The handbook provides practical tips for editors. But it also seeks to recognize the unique challenges and decisions they face. Many of the lessons are illustrated by example — when science journalism shone as well as when it was left wanting — by each chapter’s authors, some of the most widely celebrated science editors and reporters working today.
Considerable: A New Media Brand for People Redefining What It Means to Grow Older
I helped Considerable develop a features program in late 2019 and early 2020, setting up new contracts and payment processes and commissioning and editing a number of long-form original features, including Gabriel Furshong’s story about the lessons he learned from 113-year-old Walter Breuning and David Silverberg’s profile of the longevity explorers, a group focused on making sure that the concerns of older adults are heard in the development of products that are intended for them.
The International Association for Literary Journalism Studies
I’ve served as an officer of IALJS since June of 2010. IALJS is a multi-disciplinary learned society whose essential purpose is the encouragement and improvement of scholarly research and education in literary journalism. For the purposes of scholarly delineation, our definition of literary journalism is “journalism as literature” rather than “journalism about literature.” I manage and update the association’s official website and assist with the development of a twice-yearly professional journal and annual conference that brings together top literary journalism educators from around the globe.
I was an early adviser and editorial consultant to Beacon, a platform that let writers connect with readers that value their work. Beacon, which launched in the second half of 2013, was part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2014 class. As an adviser, I recruited high-quality and -profile independent journalists with expertise on topics of interest to readers. Hundreds of journalists used the platform to finance their writing and investigations, with organizers working with newspapers and other publishers to promote the projects and to help the stories produced reach a wider audience. Over $1,000,000 was raised via 20,000 donors by 2015 to fund journalism. The site differed from other models of funding journalism with donations, such as National Public Radio and Kickstarter, by focusing on the individual journalists, providing publishing support, and encouraging audience participation in story development.
The Atlantic: Video Strategy & Homepage
While working as an editor at The Atlantic, where I oversaw the development and launch of a new section devoted to health coverage, I was part of a two-person team that conceived of — and developed a launch plan for — the magazine’s video strategy. I also worked with the product and development groups to contribute to homepage and site re-designs.
World Sport Chicago
I worked with World Sport Chicago, an independent non-profit organization that supports resiliency and strengthens community by increasing access to youth sport, to produce all digital copy for Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy
I worked directly with Cathy Cousins Veal, the president of The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois, to develop marketing and communication strategies, plans, and materials — after observing and interviewing students, alumni, staff, and faculty — in support of the experimental residential high school’s strategic action plan to develop IMSA as a teaching and learning laboratory for imagination and inquiry.
I served as a temporary community manager for Edelman Digital, designing and overseeing the launch of a new public-facing website for the digital arm of the largest private public relations and marketing consultancy firm in the world.
Stories, photo essays, and editorial packages I have worked on have appeared in Pacific Standard, Outside, The Atlantic, and other publications. They have won the National Magazine Award, the Society of Publication Designers’ Silver Medal, the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award, the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award for outstanding journalism that fosters social and environmental justice, the Liberty Media Award for media contributions that explore the link between economic and political liberty, Syracuse University’s Mirror Award for reporting on the media, the National Association of Science Writers’ Science in Society Award, and many others. They have been optioned for film and radio, expanded into full-length books, and also been reprinted in numerous anthologies, including several Best American collections.
The Country’s First Climate Change Casualties?, Elaina Plott
Scientists predict Tangier Island could be uninhabitable within 25 years. This is the story of the people willing to go down with it — and why they’ve risked it all on Donald Trump to keep them afloat.
Endless Addiction, Jack Shuler
The opioids are here, and meth is resurgent. When it’s easier than ever to rationalize the first hit, and the options are limitless, even a community-wide effort might not be enough to stop the overdoses. A year in the heart of the addiction crisis in Rust Belt America.
Engineering a More Perfect World, Barrett Swanson
Jacque Fresco spent decades building a life-sized model of his ideal city. The central idea? If we want the Western world to overcome war, avarice, and poverty, all we need to do is redesign the culture.
Bringing the Rural Poor Into the Digital Economy, Maria Konnikova
Dumas, a small town in the heart of the Arkansas Delta — where public computers and open Internet access are hard to come by — is home to an ambitious new program to teach digital literacy skills.
This Is Your Brain on Poverty, Karen Weese
How behavioral economics is opening a creative new front in the fight against inequality.
Failure at the EPA, Kevin Stark & Winifred Bird
The agency has left immigrants and minorities to fend for themselves at toxic waste sites across the country.
The Bionic Woman of Good Science, Bonnie Tsui
How an ecologist of tidal communities became a global diplomat for the ocean.
The Afterlife of Big Ideas, Michael Hobbes
How one high school — mine — explains why we keep making the same mistakes in education reform.
Fighting Back Against Parkinson’s, Tovin Lapan
Individuals struggling with the mysterious, debilitating disease are finding relief in an unlikely place: the boxing gym, where patients battling uncontrollable tremors are transformed into fighters.
The Battle for the Great Apes: Inside the Fight for Non-Human Rights, George Johnson
With several incremental victories behind them, animal-rights advocates are making their biggest push yet: to expand the definition of a person.
Could California Become a Zero-Extinction State?, Jimmy Tobias
California plant lovers are finding — and nurturing — species once presumed to be extinct in the wild.
The Poison in Our Water, Morgan Baskin
As scientists sort out the best way to capture and measure the harmful microfibers that now litter most of the world’s freshwater, we have no choice but to keep drinking.
“I owe my favorite feature of my career to Nick. He took my brief musings and — effortlessly, it seemed — shaped them into an award-winning cover story. Nick is all those things a great editor should be — empathetic, sharp, intuitive. But he’s also a total blast to work with. In this fraught moment, I cherished writing for someone who not only understands the power and urgency of a good story, but also knows how to have fun in the process of telling it.”
— Elaina Plott, National Political Reporter at the New York Times & Political Analyst at CNN
“In addition to his generosity and insightfulness as a person, Nick is that rare kind of editor, one who can glimpse into the core of a story and locate its most powerful iteration. While helping me with a cover story for Pacific Standard, Nick teased out latent ideas in the draft and helped me express them more forcefully. Any writer would be lucky to receive his stewardship and intelligence.”
— Barrett Swanson, 2015 Pushcart Prize Winner & Author of the Essay Collection Lost Causes
“When I was a brand new reporter, Nick took a chance on me. He hired me as contributing writer and worked patiently to help me hone my narrative voice and deepen my reporting skills. He also gave me space to experiment. Our work together led to a long series of feature stories and investigative articles about environmental controversies and political upheaval in the American West. Those stories were the foundation on which I built my career as an investigative journalist. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Nick’s wise counsel and his keen eye for editing. I am so grateful for his guidance; you will be too.”
— Jimmy Tobias, Independent Investigative Reporter at The Nation & The Guardian
“Nick understands something rare and extremely desirable in an editor: how to approach his craft from both a micro- and macrocosmic perspective. He’ll make your sentences better and your paragraphs tighter, but he’ll also help shape and fine tune the greater argument and narrative of the piece; he cares about how it’s written as well as what it’s saying, which certainly can’t be said of everyone in the magazine world. At the same time, he has the gift of knowing where not to edit, which is just as rare and desirable a quality. He understands how to protect the writer’s intrinsic voice and vision, even when cuts need to be made, and he doesn’t edit just to make his presence felt. (And this doesn’t even cover his abilities as an EIC, which were obvious in the breadth, depth, and imagination of Pacific Standard during his tenure.) I’ve always been in great hands with Nick as an editor, and I can’t imagine anyone feeling differently.”
— Kevin Lincoln, Freelance Writer for The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, GQ & More
“Nick is one of the few editors who understands the shape of the media industry today but has a vision of how to make it better. It was such a pleasure to work with an editor who focused not only on crafting a good story, but was concerned about its impact — all you can ever ask for as a writer.”
— Lois Parshley, Freelance Journalist & Photographer
“Nick is one of the finest editors I’ve ever worked with. He took a flat story and transformed it into one that truly moved, and I think haunted, readers. It’s not something I could have done on my own. Nick is an editor with a vision, a vision for stories and their impact on both people and policy — the kind of empathetic approach that journalism, that writing, needs in this moment.”
— Jack Shuler, Author of The Thirteenth Turn: A History of the Noose & Associate Professor at Denison University
“Nick is one of the smartest editors I’ve ever worked with. First, he took a pitch from a random charity worker with an essay he wrote on spec. A few years later, once that charity worker was a freelancer who had gotten way too attached to a reporting assignment, Nick turned a sprawling, 8,000-word mess into an actual story. He’s patient, thoughtful, and ruthless in track changes when he needs to be. Most importantly, he built Pacific Standard into the kind of publication journalists want to read and work for.”
— Michael Hobbes, Senior Enterprise Reporter at HuffPost & Host, You're Wrong About
“From the first day I met Nick, I was struck by his intellectual curiosity, his creativity, his irreverent humor, his energy, and his confidence. Nick was never intimidated by the power structure at Texas Monthly, which can be hard to break into. He kept knocking on writers’ and editors’ doors until everyone knew who he was and had given him work to do.”
— Pamela Colloff, Senior Reporter at ProPublica & Staff Writer at The New York Times Magazine
“By the time I spoke to Nick about my idea to investigate two dozen places across the U.S. where extremely toxic substances pose a direct health threat to immigrants, several editors already told me to think smaller. But he encouraged me to take a big swing and provided the resources to do it right. Three years later we published “Failure at the EPA” as a cover story in Pacific Standard. We argued that these threats to community health are a direct responsibility of our government. Nick took me all the way from the story idea to publication. He can see the big picture, the important details, and a damn good story. He is a fantastic editor and a pleasure to work with.”
— Kevin Stark, Science Reporter at KQED
“Nick is one of the best editors I’ve worked with — inspired, meticulous, and thoroughly professional.”
— George Johnson, Science Writer at the New York Times & Author of The Cancer Chronicles
“Nick is a very bright and resourceful editor who is brimming with ideas. If you are looking for an industrious and hard-working young editor, you need look no further.”
— Charles Whitaker, Dean at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism
“Back in my idealistic youth, I liked to say that the purpose of journalism was to ‘make what matters interesting.’ It’s easy enough to make interesting things interesting — sports, scandals, disasters — and it’s even easier to make important things dull. What makes journalism different from entertainment is that it is supposed to deal with ‘real’ issues, problems, and concepts. Presenting them in a way that holds people’s attention — that’s the standard journalism, in its different forms, is always aiming for. Terry Gross does it in one way, Michael Lewis in another.... [Pacific Standard] is earning a place on that list.”
— James Fallows, The Atlantic
“Pacific Standard is a bimonthly that focuses on social issues and public policy with the same passion that supermarket glossies lavish on Biggest Loser spreads and Heidi Montag’s latest turn under the plastic surgeon’s knife.”
— The Los Angeles Times
“Pacific Standard relaunched with a new, slick website — more mobile- and tablet-friendly, more Obama-era sans serif blue. ... The staff has grown too: Nicholas Jackson, a young editor who has thought hard about how to make the Internet work for places like The Atlantic and Outside, joined as digital director....”
— Columbia Journalism Review
“Small, off-beat magazines dominated the industry’s annual awards competition, beating back their better-known, better-financed rivals. In category after category, it was editors and brass from Time Inc., Hearst, and Meredith standing to applaud folks from Mother Jones, Pacific Standard, Good, Eater, and Modern Farmer as they picked up their Ellie for excellence in magazine publishing.”
— The New York Post
“As digital director, [Jackson] was charged with taking the bi-monthly [Pacific Standard] and building a Web presence around it that included a healthy dose of digital-only content. It was around this time that the magazine began producing some blockbuster articles that reverberated well beyond the publication’s Santa Barbara headquarters into the larger media world.”
— Thoughts on Journalism, Medium
“The loss of [Pacific Standard] leaves digital media a little less brainy. ‘Even when they were writing about the debate of the day or the moment, they were doing it in an intelligent way,’ said Casey Cep, a former columnist for the magazine who now writes regularly for The New Yorker, the New York Times, and other publications.”
— The New York Times
As Editor-in-Chief of Pacific Standard
Awards & Honors
Pacific Standard’s national and international journalism has earned multiple accolades, including the industry’s highest honor, a 2017 National Magazine Award for Feature Photography (the magazine’s second, following a win in 2015 for the Public Interest category). It was nominated again in 2019 for a National Magazine Award for Essays & Criticism for Terese Marie Mailhot’s story, “Silence Breaking Woman,” about a Native writer struggling against the ignorance of white culture.
Pacific Standard also won a 2018 Mirror Award for Best Profile from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University (following a 2017 nomination for Best Commentary), a 2017 Society of Publication Designers Silver Medal for Feature Design, and two 2017 arts and entertainment awards from the Los Angeles Press Club, among many others. The magazine has been recognized by the National Association of Science Writers and the Society of Environmental Journalists for its investigative environmental journalism, and works that first appeared in Pacific Standard have been featured in multiple anthologies, including Best American Essays, Best American Food Writing, Best American Science and Nature Writing, and What Future: The Year’s Best Ideas to Reclaim, Reanimate & Reinvent Our Future.
Impact & Influence
Since its founding in 2008, Pacific Standard was a leading voice in public-policy discourse. Pacific Standard stories have regularly been cited in academic research, Congressional hearings, policy proposals, and state Supreme Court decisions, and have been a topic of discussion among such leading figures as Bill McKibben and Bernie Sanders. In addition, the magazine’s work is regularly promoted through organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
A few examples of when Pacific Standard’s reporting made its way to the desks of Capitol Hill: Senator Elizabeth Warren cited “There’s a Strategy That Helps Prevent Injuries at Work. Why Isn’t the Federal Government Using It?” in a special Labor Day report on the Trump administration’s lack of worker protections; Senator Richard Blumenthal cited Dan McGraw’s reporting in his call to action for a policy response to the opioid epidemic; Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz cited Andrea King Collier’s reporting on friendships among female politicians; and Congressman Don Beyer publicly recommended staff writer Kate Wheeling’s reporting on methane rules and the Santa Barbara oil spill.
Reach & Partnerships
As a small non-profit publisher known for ambitious reporting that’s backed by the latest academic research across the social and behavioral sciences, Pacific Standard was something of an industry darling. Major media organizations, from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg regularly cited the magazine’s work because they knew it was fair and reliable.
Researchers regularly celebrated Pacific Standard contributors and reporters for writing in a nuanced and accurate way about their findings. They felt — and continue to feel — strongly enough about the magazine’s work to cite it in their journal articles and teach it in their classes. Sample journal citations include Information, Communication & Society, the Harvard Journal on Legislation, the International Journal of Cultic Studies, Substance Use & Misuse, the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, PNLA Quarterly, the Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, and the International Journal of Philosophical Studies. And sample course packet requests include the University of Michigan/English 125, Indiana University/Madness and Melancholy, the University of Southern California/Sociology 340, and the Aspen Institute/Artificial Intelligence, Business, and the Future of Work.
The Pacific Standard team also worked on collaborative editorial and social media projects to increase the magazine’s reach and influence. Editorial partners included The Marshall Project, the Guardian, The Center for Public Integrity, Magnum Photos, The Trace, and Climate Central; social media partners included ProPublica, New America, News Deeply, CityLab, The Daily Beast, The Conversation, Massive Science, Mongabay, Greater Good Berkeley, SAPIENS, Fortune, CNBC, and the Climate Desk; funding partners included The Food & Environment Reporting Network, The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, The Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, the McGraw Business Journalism Fellowship, The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, the University of California–Berkeley’s 11th Hour Food & Farming Fellowship, The American Council on Germany, The International Reporting Project, The French-American Foundation’s Immigration Journalism Fellowship, and The Fund for Journalism on Child Well-Being.