Anyone who rides a commuter bus or train in the United States is all too familiar with the sight of fellow travelers with their heads down, focused on their hand-held devices. (If not, look up from yours and you’ll see what I mean.) Recent data suggests that well over half of email (65%) is accessed via a mobile device such as a smart phone or a tablet, and, increasingly, when people read print or online journalism, they’re initially prompted by a digital cue from a mobile device. Moreover, the trend towards online news consumption, especially among younger people, grows and grows.
This being the digital age, the Humanist magazine simply needed to grow up. The Humanist has existed in print since 1941 (and in earlier iterations since 1927) and online for twelve years. But as a bimonthly the online version has always been a bit staid for our taste. The Humanist Network News started around 2004 as a weekly e-zine, and under the editorship of the American Humanist Association’s Maggie Ardiente evolved into a lively source of humanist news and opinion with a large readership. It seemed only natural, then, to combine the two publications along with brand new columnists and departments into a larger humanist media hub to include the Humanist Hour podcast as well.
“Loyal readers of HNN will continue to enjoy all their favorite writers and features, but on an easier-to-read, searchable website,” notes Ardiente, who is a senior editor at The Humanist.com along with myself.
“We’re going to feature original content and major movement authors on a regular basis at TheHumanist.com,” says AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt, who is the site’s publisher. “I expect it will become a go-to source for humanist news and opinion.” Featuring original content on a regular basis is certainly what will distinguish TheHumanist.com from other secular websites and blogs. In addition to feature stories and news commentary, the site offers film and book reviews, humor, poetry and short fiction, and an impressive roster of columnists including Marty Klein (“Sexual Intelligence”); Greta Christina (“Fierce Humanism”), Rob Boston (“Church & State”), Joan Reisman-Brill (“The Ethical Dilemma”), and David Niose (“Court Watch”), with additional columns by Janet Asimov, Andy Norman, Luis Granados, and Science and Religion Correspondent Clay Farris Naff.
“The American Humanist Association is experiencing rapid growth in media coverage, membership, and access to policy makers in Washington, DC,” Ardiente stresses. “This new website will enable us to share news about the AHA and the secular movement to our readers and members.”
“It’s so exciting to have a one-stop hub for all of the fantastic content created under the banner of the AHA,” notes Managing Editor Peter Bjork. “With this new site, we’ll be able to post immediate-response news and commentary pieces on issues affecting the entire humanist community, as well give a voice to some of the greatest humanist writers and thinkers out there. We’ve created a great platform, and I’m looking forward to seeing it grow.”