Newsletters we recommend
730DC is all about sprucing up your inbox with useful, interesting, and well-written stories and resources. Here are some of our favorite newsletters to help you do that.
The email newsletter is a funny kind of a publication. In some important ways, it is more like a newspaper, a real analog paper paper, than it is like a website. You can’t take back an email. Errata take a full day to issue. That means you have to be judicious about what you write. Stingy, too—even while websites bloat, email has a size limit. (We’ve been cut off once or twice.) Like a woven paper page, an email is static HTML—it is what it is.
On the other hand, email newsletters are clearly of the digital moment, a particular moment in web history, when curators are in higher demand than ever. Tons of Washingtonians start their days with Politico’s Playbook, for example. The internet is more full of amazing things than you will ever, if you could live the life of every one of our readers, be able to read—and yet 95% of web content is garbage.
Who else does what we do? 730DC cuts through the clutter to deliver you reliable, relevant content about local news and events in Washington, DC. Here’s a list of newsletters we recommend because of their ability to do just that, but for other areas and interests.
We won’t count publications like Qz, Politico, Nautilus, and LARB, all of whom offer great newsletters, but will instead focus on newsletter-first publications. We also won’t focus on our sources, which are documented elsewhere.
Here we go!
For news on the go: The Skimm was an early inspiration for 730DC. They still haven’t taken our meeting requests, but this morning preview delivers the news in an accessible, relatable manner—still something we strive for.
For the Twitterati: Today in Tabs. Rusty Foster’s slightly demented list of the tabs and takes of the day catches many of the most important stories of the day. Plenty of chaff, too, but it’s all the telling (with lots of GIFs and screenshots). The intern section consistently showcases up and coming talent. Delivered midday.
For the dads: Nextdraft is relentless with the puns and dad humor, but it’s a reliable source of interesting (but generally politically MOR) news stories.
For the readers: This.cm is similarly media-centric, as the newsletter contains postings from their journalist-heavy social network. The draw: Quality. You can only share one thing per day, so it better be good. Their five links of journalism, delivered in the afternoons, are always excellent and usually diverse. (See also: Longreads, Read This Thing)
For the trivia buff: Now I Know brings you an improbable fact every day, updating Ripley’s Believe It or Not for the Internet age. The emphasis, though, isn’t on freakshows and world records, but on understanding the stories behind unlikely headlines. *reader recommended*
For the pretentious: The Browser is a paid newsletter, but you can go to their website for free; they often have feature good writing on science and foreign affairs. We suspect the same people who subscribe buy Monocle. (See also: Arts & Letters Daily)
For the sporting: Goalposte is a new, DC-based sports newsletter that covers all the top sports stories in an accessible fashion. *reader recommended*
For the urban: NextCity does a great job collecting smart growth, design, and transit news for the interested layperson. (See also: CityLab’s Weekend Roundup, though not a newsletter, is a great place for curated content on cities.)
For the human: everything changes, from the Awl, is Laura Olin’s protean masterpiece of the genre; yes, it changes every week, and shifts from hilarious political satire (Olin was part of Obama’s 2012 digital team) to heartwarming experiments in audience participation.
For the future: Real Future is the new, #Fusionized name for Alexis Madrigal’s newsletter, but Five Interesting Things was pretty descriptive in its own right. That’s what the newsletter has: Five items, comprising a glorious portal into a bioengineered, blockchain-encrypted, gender-fucked, self-driving future. (See also: DC Inno)
For the organizers: This Is the Movement from DeRay Mckesson and Johnetta Elzie is only delivered every couple weeks, but highlights the role we all have to play in social justice, focusing on the writers’ journey as #BlackLivesMatter activists and Campaign Zero leads. (See also: Greenpeace’s MobLab Dispatches)
For the learner: Highbrow brings America’s self-improvement obsession to the inbox. They offer bite-sized lessons on everything from serialized short stories to logic puzzles to Renaissance philosophy. *reader recommended*
For the feminist: Lenny from Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner is much more like a full publication than most newsletters, occasionally publishing original short stories or essays.
- The Morning News’ Headlines section (full disclosure: I co-edit them and they are by far the best of anything here, but Honorable Mention seemed more modest)
- The New Inquiry’s Sunday Reading is a treasure trove for radicals (but also not technically a newsletter)
- Not Doomed Yet (climate change)
- The Tree Alerts (climate change)
- Freak Nasty Fridays (eclectic news & culture, *reader recommended*)
- CommodityFetish (reviewing self-help)
- If you have a Medium, their newsletter feature is pretty great.
What did we miss? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make additions.