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Why I Joined Puck

Cafe Milano
Photo by Joseph Victor Stefanchik for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Julia Ioffe
September 12, 2021

Hello! I am Julia Ioffe, Puck’s Washington correspondent. You may remember me from such publications as The New Yorker, the Atlantic, and the New York Times Magazine. There’s a reason I’m no longer at those places, but at Puck: freedom. I wanted to be able to speak directly to my audience in a clear and honest voice, to write candidly about what I saw happening around me without contorting myself into an artificially disembodied posture of false objectivity. If I had to write one more paragraph starting with “to be sure,” I was going to kill myself. 

Readers can see through that charade. People know when you’re being honest and when you’re trying for a balance you don’t believe in yourself. And both readers and sources respect you more when you’re doing the former, rather than the latter. If Trump taught journalists anything, it’s that no amount of sucking up will save you or grant you access. Stick to the truth and everything else falls into place. 

At Puck, I found colleagues who believe in the same thing—and who gave me both the freedom to pursue this mission while giving me an ownership stake in it. It feels very different to work for a company that you have a hand in building, and one that you have a real claim to. It’s liberating. It’s how things should be.

Here’s another reason: I wanted to join a team where I could focus on the reporting and the writing. I also wanted to write for a place where I actually read the finished product. I don’t intend to malign my former colleagues, many of whom are still my friends and who all do excellent work. But the Trump era broke me and my love of magazines. After a day of hopelessly trying to stay on top of the news, all I wanted was an organized digest or a story in my inbox—or a book. Nothing in between. So I thought, why not walk the walk? Why not produce the kind of essential, no-bullshit journalism that I want to read, myself? And so, here I am: working on a book and writing for Puck, sending stories to your inbox that I hope you will like reading as much as I enjoy writing them.