'08, Thomas Coen '07, Stacie Szmonko ’07 and Aaron Sussman '07 are the
editors of Incite Magazine, which aims to bridge political commentary
with the activist community.
Student-Created Online Magazine Pushes Readers to Take Actions
The power of insight, the power to incite.
That’s the motto of a new magazine created by Wesleyan students that links
progressive political commentary with action.
Incite Magazine founded by Thomas Coen ‘07, Aaron Sussman ‘07 and
Rebecca Littman ‘08, features articles that call for a compassionate and
honest world while providing readers with the tools and resources to help
fight for it. The magazine is updated online as new content is edited at
and augmented by a periodically-published print edition.
Launched Nov. 20, Incite was founded by with a grant from Campus
Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress. The Wesleyan
Student Assembly also supports the not-for-profit publication.
According to the magazine’s mission statement,“ Incite Magazine is a
collaboration among students at Wesleyan who believe that progressive ends
must be realized through free exchanges of ideas, opinions, and critiques
that are then applied to action.” The editors not only aim to offer
incisive, well-researched commentary and bold, responsible reporting, but to
provide a network for writers and activists who share progressive principles
and to conclude each article with information on how to become active and
“We started Incite Magazine because we saw a gap between the political
commentary community and the activist community,” Coen says. “We
wanted to bridge that divide –so that people don’t just analyze what the
problems are, but also connect that to what people can do about those
problems, how they can work to make the world a better place.”
Connecting the article with action is what sets Incite apart from other
online magazines, Sussman explains. At the end of every article is a “What
You Can Do About It” segment.
“I will often read an article in the progressive press that exposes the
truth and evokes anger. But the next step is asking, ‘what can I do about
this?’” Sussman says. “Every article in Incite, provides ways for
readers to get involved in social action, whether that is writing to
Congress, contacting local media or joining a demonstration.”
The editors also encourage readers to submit their own views.
Incite has eight sections including Iraq, The Constitution, The
Media, Domestic Politics, Foreign Policy, Labor and Economics, Science and
Technology and Activism. Under each of these headings, readers will find
articles on that topic. For example, under the Science & Technology heading,
Leah Katz writes about “Arming Women in the Battle Against HIV/AIDS: The
Case for Microbicides,” and under the Foreign Policy heading, Coen writes
about “A Life-Long Supply of Genocide” and “Bush’s Democracy Doctrine.”
Sussman’s article “They Hate Our Freedom: The Truth About the Military
Commissions Act," under The Constitution section, was picked up by at
least six other publications and was an official source on Google News.
On the magazine’s online version, readers can listen to several interviews
conducted by members of the Incite staff. Coen and Ben Levinger have
posted their interviews of Ned Lamont, Connecticut’s former democratic
candidate for the U.S. Senate and Emily Biuso, internship director for
The Nation, and others. Sussman has posted many interviews, including
with Cindy Sheehan, an anti-war peace activist and Anthony Romero, executive
director of the ACLU.
In addition, the Web site offers an overabundance of useful links to sites
on Iraq, law and human rights, media resources, media activists, government
watchdogs, think tanks and other online magazines. It also features an
action calendar, which includes upcoming events that involve political
activism, advocacy or expression.
“Incite wants to be a resource for several activist groups, and be
used as a tool to connect them to the Wesleyan, Middletown, and broader
community,” Littman says.
The editors each have extensive experience with activism and journalism,
ranging form working as a page in the U.S. Senate to interning with the ACLU
and People for the American Way to studying political policy in Uganda and
Cameroon. Additionally, Sussman has had articles published in several
publications including alternet.org, the Atlantic Free Press,
mediachannel.org, Eat the State! and In Motion Magazine.
Since three of the four editors will be graduating this spring, they are
seeking writers, editorial staff, activists, photographers, designers and
technology and Web specialists. The editors hope younger members of the
Wesleyan community will take over the reigns in future years.
Stacie Szmonko ’07 is the publication’s editor-in-chief. She hopes the
experience with Incite will lead her to a career with a political
magazine after college. Meanwhile, it’s an ideal way to gain experience and
voice her opinions.
“I’ve always had a deep interest in progressive politics, critiquing the
mainstream media and writing argumentative articles,” she says. “We hope new
writers will join our discussion and help us create a magazine and community
that can positively influence the way we see the world and our own potential
to change it – something that can Incite true progress.”
By Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection