Utne Reader
Utne Reader, cover from the January–February 2012 issue
EditorChristian Williams
CategoriesU.S. politics and public policy
CompanyOgden Publications
CountryUnited States
Based in1503 SW 42nd Street
Topeka, KS 66609-1265 U.S

Utne Reader (also known as Utne; /ˈʌtni/, UT-nee) is a digital digest that collects and reprints articles on politics, culture, and the environment, generally from alternative media sources including journals, newsletters, weeklies, zines, music, and DVDs.

The magazine's writers and editors contribute book, film, and music reviews and original articles that tend to focus on emerging cultural trends. The magazine's website produces ten blogs covering politics, environment, media, spirituality, science and technology, great writing, and the arts. The publication takes its name from founder Eric Utne.[1] "Utne" rhymes with the English word "chutney". Eric Utne's surname is ultimately derived from the Norwegian village of Utne, which loosely translates as "far out".[2]


The magazine was founded in 1984[3] by Eric Utne as the Utne Reader. Its tagline was "the best of the alternative press". For its first 20 years Jay Walljasper was editor; Julie Ristau was its publisher.[4][5] During these years it was transformed "from a tiny New Age newsletter to a thick, ad-rich magazine with more than 300,000 subscribers."[6] Utne chaired the magazine until the late 1990s, when his then-wife Nina Rothschild Utne took over.[7] The magazine was headquartered in Minneapolis.[8]

The cover logo was changed to simply Utne in 2003, continuing until 2006, with the subtitle, A Different Read on Life.[9]

In 2006 the magazine was purchased by Ogden Publications, publishers of Grit, Mother Earth News, Natural Home, and other magazines.[7] The earlier title Utne Reader was brought back, and the magazine returned to and refocused on its original mission to reprint "the best of the alternative press".[10]

Utne Reader ceased publication in 2019 and is now a digital digest at utne.com. Eric Utne looked into re-acquiring the magazine in 2020 but was rebuffed by the publisher. ""It's sad to see it go", Utne admits. "These times need something like this more than ever. Our editorial credo was to no particular point of view. No one has the sole proprietorship on good ideas. It takes multiple perspectives to come closer to the truth."[11]

According to The New York Times, Utne Reader was a leader of the salon movement of the 1980s, devoted to debate on the issues of the day.[12] Utne Reader was an early source of coverage of the mythopoetic men's movement when it first surfaced in the early 1990s.[13]

Utne Independent Press Awards

The magazine bestows annual Utne Independent Press Awards, which honor alternative and independent magazines from around the world.[14] Past winners include the Wilson Quarterly, In These Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, Mother Jones, Orion, High Country News, Gnosis and New Internationalist.[15]

In popular culture


  1. ^ "Eric Utne Created the Impossible: a Reader's Digest That Both Baby Boomers and Highbrows Can Love". people.com. September 10, 1990. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  2. ^ Amien, Deb (April 23, 2018). "What the Heck Is That?: UTNE". The New York Times. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  3. ^ "The 20 Best Magazines of the Decade (2000–2009)". Paste Magazine. November 26, 2009. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  4. ^ "Julie Ristau". LinkedIn.
  5. ^ Jay Walljasper, "It was 20 years ago today..." Utne magazine (March / April 2004) at https://web.archive.org/web/20210109183610/https://www.utne.com/community/itwas20yearsagotoday
  6. ^ David Hawley, "An Activist Agenda For New Utne Reader", Seattle Times (December 23, 1994) at https://web.archive.org/web/20210109182041/https://archive.seattletimes.com/archive/?date=19941223&slug=1948780
  7. ^ a b Tom Groening (September 16, 2006). "Utne CEO, editor recounts magazine struggles". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  8. ^ "Top General Magazines". Book Market. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  9. ^ "Magazine Agent: Utne". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  10. ^ "Utne Re-Reader: A 'Progressive Brand' Reclaims its Roots – and Name". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved June 6, 2007.
  11. ^ "Utne Reader founder Eric Utne shares his 'Far Out' life in new memoir". Twin Cities Pioneer Press. 29 August 2020. Retrieved November 1, 2021.
  12. ^ Jonathan Rabinovitz (April 13, 1992). "An Attempted Comeback for the Literary Salon". The New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2008.
  13. ^ "The Virtuous Male". Archived from the original on May 15, 2007. Retrieved May 8, 2007.
  14. ^ "Utne Independent Press Awards: 2011 Winners". Utne. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  15. ^ "Winners of the 2010 Utne Independent Press Awards". Utne. Retrieved May 22, 2020.