Vanity Fair's list of media disruptors is pretty white. Here are a few suggested additions

On Wednesday, Vanity Fair released a list of news disruptors, "this new breed of journo-entrepreneurs strike out on their own, cutting to the chase and influencing the masses without (much of) a filter."

They're defining disruptors in terms of entrepreneurship, but the list is pretty white and includes only two women. Here are a few suggested additions, including some people of color.

Anna Holmes: Holmes is the founder of and now works as editor of digital voices and storytelling at Fusion. Here's what Holmes told Re/code's Peter Kafka about her move to Fusion:

The idea is to build the brand among that demographic. Which is not only younger than me, but also much more diverse than my generation. Which is really important to me. Because one of my frustrations for decades now has been that media didn’t reflect the world that I saw around me — the kind of ethnic diversity that is only becoming more prominent in the U.S.

Mark Luckie: Luckie is the manager of journalism and news at Twitter. He wrote "The Digital Journalist's Handbook" and founded 10,000 words. Luckie is No. 58 on The Root's list of 100 influencers.

He’s gone from helping news organizations like the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Weekly optimize their Web reach, to helping members of those same organizations more effectively use Twitter for the benefit of all.

Shani Hilton: Hilton is deputy editor-in-chief at BuzzFeed. In March, Hilton wrote on Medium about building a diverse newsroom.

The network — on both ends of the equation — is the problem. The journos of color and women aren’t networking with white dudes doing the hiring because it isn’t in their DNA. Call it the Twice as Hard Half as Good Paradox: Many of us are so busy working twice as hard and hoping to get noticed that we don’t do the networking that seems like bullshit but is actually a key part of career advancement.

Melissa Bell: VF's list includes Bell's coworker at Vox, Ezra Klein, but she's there, too! In April, Bell spoke with The Guardian's Ben Cardew.

"Great ideas come from many different sources," she explains. "When you are building a new media company it is important to have a team that reflects the type of audience that we want to have." How will Vox address this? Bell replies that chief among "a bunch of things" is making sure job postings are spread as widely as possible. "It is important to broaden our reach in talking about our company and what we are doing," she adds.

Rafat Ali: Ali is the CEO and Founder of Skift and the founder of paidContent. In July, Ali spoke with Eric Jackson with Forbes.

I have a line I use a lot these days: we’ve built a brand, now we’re down to the hard task of building a business. This is very different than my previous company, where it started as a passion blog, then became my livelihood, then became a brand, and then scaled to the extent that it did into a company. With Skift, we raised money first, to build a trusted brand in travel information, to have the luxury of experimenting and finding the right market fit for us.

Ken Li: Li is the editor-in-chief of Re/code. From his bio:

Ken Li has covered the intersection of technology and media businesses since 1997, watching the boom, bust and the return of innovation from New York. He has worked as a reporter and editor at news organizations including Reuters, the Financial Times, The Industry Standard, and the New York Daily News. As a reporter for Reuters, Ken co-founded the “MediaFile” blog.

Raju Narisetti: Narisetti is a senior vice president at NewsCorp. In May, Narisetti wrote for Nieman Lab about the Pulitzers and offered some ideas for changes.

Every year, Columbia publishes an updated edition that lists the winners and finalists with citations in a small, all-text, printed book that resembles the citations one would see listed at end of nonfiction books. It’s an understated, dull experience, and about as removed from the increasingly multimedia journalism that win the prizes as one can deliberately get.

Ben Huh: Huh is the CEO of and cofounder of Circa. In March of last year, Dani Fankhauser wrote about Huh and Cheezburger for Mashable.

In the Internet's "blog to riches" category, Ben Huh dominates. He purchased I Can Has Cheezburger from bloggers he met online in 2007. He turned the user-generated content site, most notably of cat pictures overlayed with misspelled text, into a network which now receives 375 million page views a month across its 50 sites. The most well-known of these sites include I Can Has Cheezburger, FAIL Blog, The Daily What, Memebase and Know Your Meme.

Who else would you include on this list? Email me at or tweet to me @kristenhare and I'll add names to the list.

(I'm adding these as they come in. Here are a few.)

Nitasha Tiku: Tiku is co-editor of Valleywag, Gawker's tech blog. In May, she wrote "How to get girls into coding," for The New York Times.

Carlos Watson: Watson is the founder and CEO of OZY. Last September, Alyson Shontell wrote about him for Business Insider.

Wagatwe Wanjuki: Wanjuki is a feminist writer and blogger. In August, Stephanie Gilmore wrote about her for The Feminist Wire.

Dao Nguyen: Nguyen is the vice president of growth and data at BuzzFeed. In 2012, Joe Grimm wrote for Poynter about "What journalists can learn from BuzzFeed’s new ‘director of growth’".

Andrew Quarrie: Quarrie is the founder and CEO of, a publishing platform.

Andaiye Taylor: Taylor is the founder and editor of Brick City Live, a blog out of Newark.

On Wednesday, Annie Lowrey wrote "Why Disruptors Are Always White Guys" for New York Magazine. Lowrey included a paragraph of people she'd include. Here they are:

There’s Jane Pratt of xoJane; Ben Huh of Circa; Sharon Waxman of the Wrap; Sommer Mathis of CityLab; Mary Borkowski, Rachel Rosenfelt, Jennifer Bernstein, and Ayesha Siddiqi of the New Inquiry; Sarah Lacy of PandoDaily; Nitasha Tiku of Valleywag; Mallory Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe of the Toast; and Susan Glasser of Politico Magazine. That’s only off the top of my head.

Amanda Taub: Taub reports on human rights and foreign policy for Vox, and she's a former human rights lawyer, according to her Twitter bio.

Jina Moore: Moore reports on women's rights for BuzzFeed World (and she's also on my list of reporters covering the Ebola outbreak.)

Sarah Kendzior: Kendzior is a columnist for Al Jazeera English (and she's also on my list of journalists in St. Louis covering Ferguson.)

Angelo Izama: Izama is a Ugandan journalist and a Knight fellow.

TMS Ruge: Ruge is a Ugandan blogger and the founder of several projects, including Hive Colab, a tech incubator, according to his Web site.

I've also started a Twitter list with these people. You can find it here.


Related News

Email IconGroup 3Facebook IconLinkedIn IconsearchGroupTwitter IconGroup 2YouTube Icon