Ten years ago in Chicago, an ambitious online publication called Gapers Block—after city slang for the post-accident rubbernecking that causes traffic jams—was born. It had a clean, arresting design and a slew of lively content: some of it original and some curated from around the web. It was a refreshing “hey, let’s start a magazine” upstart in a city beset by newspaper buyouts and billionaire publishing moguls. It’s still around today, still a shoestring operation, and as relevant as ever.

Belt editors and Twitter followers got to thinking about other new and nontraditional publications that help define the Rust Belt and came up with this handy list. It includes culture blogs, investigative and long-form journalism sites and a few venerable alternative newspapers.

Did we miss anything (hello, Milwaukee)? Add it to our comments section, and we’ll consider adding it to our definitive list.

Regional Publications

Belt (Cleveland-based)

Rust Belt Almanac (Pittsburgh-based)


Issue Media Group pubs: Freshwater, Model D, High Velocity, Pop City Media, etc.

Garden Rant (Buffalo and beyond)



Deadline Detroit

Jaunt Detroit

Detroit Metro Times



Gapers Block

The Chicagoist

Chicago Reporter

Chicago Reader

Bad at Sports


St. Louis

Riverfront Times




Cellar Door Cleveland

Cool Cleveland

Cleveland Scene


Rochester, N.Y.

Rochester Subway Flint, Mich.


Flint, Mich.

Flint Expatriates



Urban Cincy