Former Medium editors are creating a magazine about mental health so they started by sharing their own stories


During a crowdfunding campaign and before the release of a single issue of Anxy, editors of the magazine shared their own trauma, abusive behavior, or what makes them anxious on Medium.

The founder is a survivor of sexual assault. The editor-in-chief has a history of anxiety. The photo editor has grappled with OCD. An assistant editor suffered from depression and substance abuse.

“Everyone who starts a magazine, starts a magazine because they want to connect with like-minded others, they want to find them. It will bring us closer, that’s why you create a publication like this, to kind of connect that community together,” said founder Indhira Rojas. “The intention was that hopefully that would resonate with some people and they would become our tribe. That’s definitely part of what we were trying to do.”

Anxy Magazine was created to talk about feelings and trauma and mental health problems or abuses that everyone is dealing with but have few places to talk about that angst.

With 54 hours to go, the campaign to create the first issues of the bi-annual Anxy Magazine has raised $45,000 toward a $50,000 goal.


Anxy staff is made up primarily of people from news startups in San Francisco.

Medium was created by Twitter cofounder and Blogger creator Evan Williams. This year, Medium has started making deals with publishers and hundreds of independent publications.

Bold Italic was created in 2009 by Gannett and IDEO to experiment with ways to report local news. The website was abruptly shut down by Gannett in 2015 but was acquired by a new owners a month later. Now Bold Italic is a Medium publication.

Rojas was part of teams that helped create some of the first original content at Medium, and Anxy staff is made mostly of former Bold Italic and Medium editors who want to make conversation about mental health normal.

Rojas met Anxy editor-in-chief Jennifer Maerz met while working together at Bold Italic, and Anxy photo editor Michelle Le and editor-at-large Bobbie Johnson while at Medium in 2014 and 2015.


After ramping up publications like Backchannel and Cuepoint at Medium, in her final months at Medium, she began to think more about the creation of a space where people can be open about their “inner worlds” and support each other through the experiences they’ve had.

It’s an idea Rojas said “incubated” in conversations with many of the people who are now Anxy staff.

Anxy decided to crowdfund for initial capital and for its first customers, since anyone who gives more than $25 to the campaign receives first issues of the magazine.

The Anxy team is using crowdfunding as a tool to find out if there is any interest and validate the idea. Demand will decide if Anxy remains a side hustle or becomes a larger business.

“When we meet our goal, then we can start exploring and get more serious about what it would mean to build a publication and a sustainable business around it. Our aim is if there is enough momentum to build a sustainable business around it and not have this be a one-shot Kickstarter project,” Rojas said. “I’m really inspired by Hello Mr. and The Great Discontent [magazines]. They both started partially through Kickstarter projects so I’ve been following a lot of models where Kickstarters have been the seed for what becomes a bigger publishing venture.”


Though Anxy began with a series of Medium posts and much of its staff is currently or formerly at Medium, Rojas said it’s not a guarantee that the next step for Anxy will be to monetize a Medium publication. An email newsletter or larger presence elsewhere online are also possibilities, she said.

“I wouldn’t necessarily anchor it on Medium. I’d say that we’re sort of exploring what our options are,” Rojas said.

Whatever the… medium, Anxy is trying to create a very specific kind of publication, one driven by a desire to connect with readers and work with an advisory board of psychotherapists, but to put that conversation in a space with great visuals and design to express the things people can feel inside.

“You can have a feeling of being really mad and having a fire inside or sad and feeling gloomy and how do we visually represent those emotions that is artful and expressive of the vocabulary that we want the magazine to have,” Rojas said about how the campaign pitch video was made.

To learn more about the project, visit the Anxy Kickstarter website.

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Khari Johnson
Khari is founder and editor of Through the Cracks: Crowdfunding in Journalism. He also writes about bots and artificial intelligence for VentureBeat. He has built news startups in the U.S. and Europe for the last decade.


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