“docu-mental is high quality, passionate, thoughtful.
Your authentic voice makes it a rare gem.”

~Madelyn Glist, producer, The Smithsonian Channel, Morning Edition, and PBS/Frontline


I’m Whitney M. Fishburn, publisher of docu-mental: mapping the american states of mind. It’s an online journal of American thought and culture published in Washington, DC. Despite what you might have heard, Washington is a GREAT place to live. Culture, arts, great food (except pizza), smart people, interesting conversations, beauty, and lots of birds if you look…it’s all here.

But like pretty much everyone in this town, I came from somewhere else. In my case, a lot of somewhere elses. I have lived all over the US, and traveled to plenty of places beyond, and maybe I am wrong, but I like to think I don’t have an “inside the Beltway brain” when I consider who we are, who we think we are, and who we think we are supposed to be as Americans. And, I think about these things A LOT. Apparently a lot of you do, too, because I have a good sized, intelligent readership.

Maybe you’d like to join us…? There’s a free subscription, as well as a paid, premium membership, which helps cover the cost of podcasts and offers members-only content.

Get 20% off for 1 year

Privacy note: I don’t sell your data. I don’t track it other than to see how many readers I have and what posts got opened the most. I don’t think you should be kept in the dark about how any site uses your information.

Publishing schedule:
Generally, d-m publishes most Fridays and occasionally a few days in between. The last Friday of each month is a podcast usually focused on an aspect of the year’s topic.

We’re into volume 2 now, and this year’s focus is on how:

Sound minds + sound information = democracy.

After more than 30 years of reporting on and analyzing policy and culture, I have noticed three parallel trends: the rising rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide across all demographics, the rise of surveillance capitalism, and the shrinking of personal agency at the expense of expanding corporate reach (and recently, the executive branch of government) in America. I share my personal story with this here.

Whether these are correlative, I’ve found no definitive proof, but I believe that they are. I also believe that where they intersect is the place where democracy is eroding.

Volume 2 of docu-mental maps these intersections. Sometimes they’re in the arts. Sometimes in the sciences. Usually in policy. Definitely in commerce. And always in our minds. My mission this year is to address those three parallels by helping you:

-Manage news and information, not letting it manage you.
-Be present and choose carefully what you pay attention to.
-And the most important one of all: Test your truth.

Subscribe now

It’d be nice to have you read and listen along.


About me:
My primary occupation is chief opera, classical, and contemporary music critic and assignment editor for DC Metro Theater Arts. Formerly the managing editor of Psychiatric Annals, Pediatric Annals, and several lifestyle and trade publications, I also was an award-winning reporter of policy and practice in Clinical Psychiatry News, Pediatric News, and Internal Medicine News, among other medical titles. Named 2017 Journalist of the Year by the Washington Psychiatric Society for my coverage of mental health policy and practice, and one of Mergermarket’s most read journalists globally, my essays and other writings have appeared in numerous publications, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Christian Science Monitor, NJ Monthly, and Grace and Gravity. I have also programmed and produced numerous programs for NPR affiliates and am a member of the Music Critics Association of North America, and a grantsmaking committee member of the National Association of Science Writers.