A user’s guide to Teen Vogue, which is quietly doing very good journalism

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A user’s guide to Teen Vogue, which is quietly doing very good journalism

Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth with digital editorial director Phillip Picardi (Photo: Melodie Jeng/Getty Images)
Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth with digital editorial director Phillip Picardi (Photo: Melodie Jeng/Getty Images)

There have been many surprises in 2016: Nate Silver was very, very wrong. Jill Stein raised millions of dollars in donations. And, in the face of cultural chaos, none other than Teen Vogue is doing surprisingly good journalism. Like this video about the Dakota Access Pipeline and the water protectors at Standing Rock, told not by some white actor, but by two Native American teenage girls (which is part of a larger video series called #AskaNativeAmericanGirl):

Except it’s not actually that surprising, because earlier this year, the magazine named 25-year-old Phillip Picardi as digital editorial director and 29-year-old Elaine Welteroth as editor. Welteroth is the first black woman to run Teen Vogue and only the second black woman to helm any of Conde Nast’s titles. Teen Vogue still includes more conventional features on beauty and fashion, but featured headlines on its website this week included pieces on why orgasms are good for your health, tips on applying to Ivy Leagues, and why the Cherokee Nation filed a lawsuit against the federal government. In an article yesterday called “Donald Trump tweeted that he’s stepping away from his business to focus on the presidency,” writer Chelsea Stone is quick to point out that Trump isn’t actually putting any of his business concerns into a blind trust, and the questions about his conflicts of interests haven’t actually been addressed. And when major media outlets were tripping over themselves to avoid the words “white supremacist,” Teen Vogue ran a video of seven Jewish women talking about the appointment of white supremacist Steve Bannon to Donald Trump’s chief strategist, and it’s one of the smartest and most affecting pieces we’ve seen on the topic.

It’s not all politics, either. Every girl needs (unfortunately) know how to deal with catcalls:

There’s also an interview between Zendaya and Michelle Obama on girls’ education, a list of ways to help victims of the Tennessee wildfires, and the 21 Under 21 feature is almost entirely made up of people of color, and includes “girls and femmes.” If we’re being honest, 2017 is probably going to be way worse than 2016 was, but at least there’s a little hope for the future. Who runs the world?

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