The Best Rust Belt Sites

2015-02-12T16:26:10-05:00January 9, 2014|

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


  1. DaveOfRichmond January 9, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    The “Rochester Subway” link is taking me to “Cool Cleveland” (as is the Cool Cleveland link).

    What about “Buffalo Rising” for Buffalo?

    • Laura Putre January 9, 2014 at 11:48 pm

      Thanks for catching that–we fixed. And we’ll check out Buffalo Rising.

  2. Angela January 10, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    The Chicagoan — not clear how active they are right now.

  3. Phil Kidd January 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Youngstown (shameless plug alert):

    Defend Youngstown

    News Outlet (Youngstown State):

  4. Keith Instone January 13, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Silicon Rust Belt – – does not fit nicely into your model but I think you should check it out to see where/how it fits in. Disclaimer: I am involved in it.

  5. Daniel Brown January 16, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Midwestern Sustainable Cities Symposium should be on your radar too.

  6. Andrew Huff January 6, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for the kind words about Gapers Block! We launched in April of 2003, so we’re actually verging on 12 years and still going strong. Can’t believe it’s been that long.

  7. Jen January 6, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    DNAinfo Chicago! We cover the shit out of Chicago’s ‘hoods and launched in 2012.


  8. Daniel May 27, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Comments are closed.

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