Progressive Review, or ProRev, is an American online alternative publication that started in 1964 as the Idler newspaper. Sam Smith, the editor, starting publishing online in 1995, and in 2004 Smith stopped publishing the Progressive Review in a hard copy edition.
A email news digest, called Undernews, is published several times a week, consisting of an entertaining and idiosyncratic selection of news excerpts from a wide variety of sources together with pithy commentaries by Smith himself.
Progressive Review is the fourth generation of a publication that started in 1964 as the Idler.
In 1966, the Idler's editor, Sam Smith, started a community newspaper on Capitol Hill, the Capitol East Gazette, to serve a largely poor, black neighborhood of Washington DC. Aided by a $2,000 grant from a local Lutheran church, the Gazette went on to cover such issues as plans to build a huge network of freeways in the city, the war on poverty, public education, neighborhood battles, and urban planning. Smith also became a vociferous advocate of statehood for the District of Columbia.
In 1969, the paper was renamed the DC Gazette and became a citywide alternative newspaper. In subsequent years, contributors would include:
- James Ridgeway,
- Jim Hightower,
- Eugene McCarthy
- Paul Krassner
- Tom Shales, writer
- Joel Siegel, movie critic
- Patricia Griffith, arts critic
- Roland Freeman, photographer
- John Wiebenson, urban planning comic strip
DC Gazette became an early and articulate voice opposing the Vietnam War.
Boris Weintraub in the Washington Star described the Gazette as "a combination of things Americans profess to hold dear: iconoclasm, a deeply felt sense of community and, above all, independence."
In 1984, DC Gazette was renamed Progressive Review and evolved into a bimonthly format. Smith's articles on the savings and loan scandal, the problems of urban America, the first Gulf War, the Bush family, and scandals surrounding the Clinton Administration were widely cited.
In 1994, Smith started sending out email updates. The following year, he launched a website, which subsequently grew to be one of the most popular websites for progressive politics.
The Progressive Review has been a finalist in five of the eight years in which Utne Reader Alternative Press Awards have been given. Twice has had articles selected by Project Censored as one of the top ten under-covered stories of the year.