Washington Monthly

Washington Monthly
Editor Paul Glastris
Frequency Monthly (1969–2008), Bimonthly (2008–present)
Circulation 10,630
First issue  1969 (1969-month)
Based in Washington, D.C.
Website www.washingtonmonthly.com
ISSN 0043-0633

Washington Monthly is a bimonthly nonprofit magazine of United States politics and government that is based in Washington, D.C. The magazine is known for its annual ranking of American colleges and universities, which serve as an alternative to the Forbes and US News & World Report rankings.


The magazine's founder is Charles Peters, who started the magazine in 1969 and continued to write the "Tilting at Windmills" column in each issue until 2014.[1] Paul Glastris, former speechwriter for Bill Clinton, has been Washington Monthly's editor-in-chief since 2001. In 2008, the magazine switched from a monthly to a bimonthly publication schedule, citing high publication costs.

Diane Straus Tucker is the magazine's current publisher.[2] Past staff editors of the magazine include Jonathan Alter, Taylor Branch, James Fallows, Joshua Green, David Ignatius, Mickey Kaus, Nicholas Lemann, Suzannah Lessard, Jon Meacham, Timothy Noah, Joe Nocera, and Steven Waldman.[3]

In 2008, the liberal watchdog and advocacy group Common Cause considered acquiring Washington Monthly, but the deal fell apart.[4][5]

Contents and viewpoint

The politics of Washington Monthly are often considered center-left.[6][7][8] Founder Charles Peters refers to himself as a New Deal Democrat and advocates the use of government to address social problems. His columns also frequently emphasized the importance of a vigilant "fourth estate" in keeping government honest.

Washington Monthly features a continuing blog; "Political Animal" was written principally by Kevin Drum for several years, with frequent guest contributions by Washington Monthly's current and alumni editors. In 2008, Steve Benen took over as lead blogger; in 2012, he was succeeded by Ed Kilgore.[9] Kilgore left the magazine in 2015.[10]

In addition to "Political Animal," the magazine's website also hosts "Ten Miles Square," a general blog featuring posts from staff and political scientists, which debuted in 2011,[11] and "College Guide," a blog about higher education, which the magazine began offering in 2009.[12]

College rankings

Washington Monthly's annual college and university rankings,[13] a deliberate alternative college guide to U.S. News and World Report and Forbes College Rankings among domestic publications, began as a research report in 2005. It was introduced as an official set of rankings in the September 2006 issue.[14]

Its "National Universities Rankings", most recently published in 2016, began as a research report in 2005, with rankings appearing in the September 2006 issue. It ranks colleges on numerous metrics revolving around academic quality, faculty, and alumni outcomes as well as factoring in "contribution to the public good in numerous categories".

The following are elements in the Washington Monthly rankings.[15][16][17]

Current national rankings

Top national universities 2015 Rank[18] Location Top liberal arts colleges 2015 Rank[18] Location
UC San Diego 1  California Bryn Mawr College 1  Pennsylvania
UC Riverside 2  California Carleton College 2  Minnesota
Texas A&M College Station 3  Texas Berea College 3  Kentucky
UC Berkeley 4  California Swarthmore College 4  Pennsylvania
Stanford University 5  California Harvey Mudd College 5  California
UC Los Angeles 6  California Reed College 6  Oregon
University of Washington 7  Washington Pomona College 7  California
Harvard University 8  Massachusetts Bates College 8  Maine
Georgia Institute of Technology 9 Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia Haverford College 9  Pennsylvania
University of Texas El Paso 10  Texas New College of Florida 10  Florida
UNC at Chapel Hill 11  North Carolina Knox College 11  Illinois
Case Western Reserve 12  Ohio Macalester College 12  Minnesota
University of Michigan Ann Arbor 13  Michigan Williams College 13  Massachusetts
UC Santa Barbara 14  California Wesleyan University 14  Connecticut
MIT 15  Massachusetts Grinnell College 15  Iowa


The Washington Monthly receives financial support from the Lumina Foundation to provide coverage of post-secondary education-related issues.[19] The magazine has also received funding from the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy,[20] the Carnegie Corporation of New York,[21] and individual supporters, including Warren Buffett and Markos Kounalakis.[3]


  1. Peters, Charles. "Why bad news should always trickle up ... Polyester and merlot ... The hippest fund-raiser in New York". Washington Monthly (Jan–Feb 2014). Retrieved Nov 9, 2014.
  2. "Washington Monthly Masthead". Washington Monthly. 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-16.
  3. 1 2 Carr, David (April 22, 2002). "New Life for Washington Watchdog". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  4. Birnbaum, Jeffrey H. (19 February 2008). "Common Cause, Washington Monthly Explore a Common Future". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  5. Calderone, Michael (May 27, 2008). "Washington Monthly not merging with Common Cause". Politico. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  6. "Media Bias". Politics Unspun. 2016. Retrieved Feb 6, 2016.
  7. Kilgore, Ed (Dec 24, 2015). "Is America Really Moving Left?". New York. Retrieved Feb 6, 2016.
  8. Karlgaard, Rich (Sep 14, 2006). "Republicans For Divided Government". Forbes. Retrieved Feb 6, 2016.
  9. "And that's a wrap". Washington Monthly. January 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-31.
  10. Glastris, Paul (Nov 20, 2015). "Ed Kilgore: Some Going Away Thoughts". Washington Monthly. Retrieved Feb 6, 2016.
  11. "Welcome to the New Washingtonmonthly.com". Washington Monthly. April 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  12. "Welcome". Washington Monthly. September 2009. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  13. Washington Monthly's Annual College Guide
  14. "The Washington Monthly's Annual College Guide"
  15. Washington Monthly's Annual College Guide, a note on methodology
  16. Mok, Harry (August 24, 2015). "UC dominates Washington Monthly's college rankings". University of California. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  17. Washington Monthly College Rankings
  18. 1 2 "Washington Monthly's National Universities Rankings". The Washington Monthly. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  19. "Strategic Media Partners: Washington Monthly Corporation". Lumina Foundation. 2014. Retrieved Feb 6, 2016.
  20. Hagey, Keach (July 1, 2011). "Liberal journalism's fickle godfather". Politico. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  21. "Grants Database: Washington Monthly Corporation". Carnegie Corporation of New York. 2016. Retrieved Feb 6, 2016.
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