What Is It? Political commentary
Who’s Behind It? Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, 34
Based Where? Berkeley, California
Rank: No. 4
An unemployed U.S. Army veteran, Zuniga started posting on the comments board of MyDD.com, a liberal blog, where his denunciations of the Bush administration won him a following. In the summer of 2002 he launched his own site and ended up raising a half-million dollars for Democratic candidates.
What Is It? Libertarian political commentary
Who’s Behind It? Glenn Reynolds, 45
Based Where? Knoxville, Tennessee
Rank: No. 7
Before starting Instapundit, Reynolds was defending clubbers on RaveRights.com—far out, Glenn! “Some people make it sound like I put down a plow and picked up a computer when I started Instapundit, but it’s always been a hobby. Being a law professor is my career.”
What Is It? The 411 on NYC
Who’s Behind It? Jen Chung, 29, and Jake Dobkin, 29
Based Where? Upper West Side
Rank: No. 90
Despite the popularity of Gothamist, founded by Columbia alums Jen Chung and Jake Dobkin, both have other jobs to pay the bills. “We need to work to invest in infrastructure—servers, maintenance—for our other sites,” says Chung. The pair are busy building out an “-ist” network of fifteen city-specific blogs.
What Is It? Tech news
Who’s Behind It? Peter Rojas, 30
Based Where? Lower East Side
Rank: No. 2
After starting Gizmodo for Nick Denton’s blog network, Peter Rojas jumped ship and teamed up with Denton’s rival, Weblogs, Inc., to create yet another online gadget-rumor mill. With the AOL buyout of Weblogs, Inc., the 30-year-old blogger is a millionaire. “I’ve always seen blogging as an end in itself and not a means to an end.” Easy for him to say.
What Is It? New York media gossip
Who’s Behind It? Jessica Coen, 25, and Jesse Oxfeld, 29
Based Where? Greenwich Village
Rank: No. 24
Elizabeth Spiers begat Choire Sicha, who begat the latest Gawker stalker. In August 2004, Coen blew off Columbia Journalism School, opting instead to read e-mails from disgruntled Condé Nasties. “We have tons of tipsters. It’s like you have the whole city doing a little bit of reporting for you. Is it accurate? Not necessarily, but it is what it is.” Columbia may have dodged a bullet.
What Is It? Real-estate and neighborhood news
Who’s Behind It? Lockhart Steele, 32
Rank: No. 1,184
Nick Denton’s right-hand man, Lockhart Steele, has his own growing blogging empire with Curbed and three sister sites: Curbed LA, Eater, and The Gutter.
What Is It? Hipster heaven
Who’s Behind It? Robert Lanham, 34
Based Where? Williamsburg (of course!)
Rank: No. 6,885
The site covers things ’burg locals are interested in—indie music, being ironic, and knowing which hipster events to bring their PBR to. The blog doesn’t earn Lanham much spending cash, but it has given him some breaks. “I secured my first book deal when an agent stumbled upon an abbreviated version of The Hipster Handbook I’d posted on my site back in ’99.” Next up: a redesign of the site and a third book.
What Is It? Hollywood gossip
Who’s Behind It? Mark Lisanti, 31
Based Where? Los Angeles
Rank: No. 58
“Defamer is more than a full-time job. It’s a lifestyle,” says Lisanti, whom Denton discovered after Gawker linked to several posts on Lisanti’s personal blog. “I’m still not sure it’s a real career.”