1. Glam Media
This "vertically integrated" women's network of blogs and magazines is among the most-trafficked Web properties in the country. Top 50 No. 37
Since Politico launched in 2007, it has accelerated the news cycle inside the Beltway from days to minutes. Concern that the audience would drop off after the presidential election proved unfounded: 2009 brought the company more traffic and readers than ever. Top 50 No. 49
3. Vice Magazine Publishing
The super-edgy hipster bible has a secret identity as a media powerhouse: 1.2 million print circulation across 26 countries, and 4.1 million unique online viewers to its video site, vbs.tv. It even has its own in-house creative agency, Virtue, which does transgressive campaigns for brands like Adidas and Red Bull. Every business unit is growing; revenue shot from $45 million in 2008 to $64 million in 2009.
In October, the nation's largest national-to-local news organization held a "Digital Think-In" at Frog Design HQ in the Bay Area. Companies like Ideo, Adaptive Path, Mozilla, and Technorati talked with local stations about how they can use social media to bring more NPR to more people while generating more cash flow. NPR has beefed up local and video coverage, launched a major new mobile site and an Android app, swept the Webby awards, and continued to dominate the top 25 podcasts. Innovation All-stars
5. Huffington Post
HuffPo keeps growing both in audience and journalistic access. It beat washingtonpost.com in unique users in September, and in December, bumped up 114% year over year to 9.9 million readers. Arianna's still at the center of the news—the administration parried her dig at Obama's "timidity" on her Web site.
Somewhere between Google Books, Amazon, and the blogosphere lies Scribd, a community of "millions of readers, millions of documents." Anyone can upload, comment, tag, vote up and down, and share any piece of text. Scribd is renowned for its easy-to-use document reader. It has wooed partners as varied as Simon & Schuster, the Chicago Tribune, tech publisher O'Reilly, and The New York Times' DealBook to contribute free and paid content.
This independent, not-for-profit newsroom now boasts the largest news staff in America devoted to investigative journalism, with talent from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other top papers. ProPublica launched the "Shovelwatch" citizen-journalism initiative in collaboration with WNYC a year ago to track just how stimulus money is being spent, and has worked with the Times on several major investigations.
8. New World Library
One of the powerhouses of independent publishing, it sold more than 3 million copies of its very first book, Shakti Gawain's Creative Visualization, in 1977. William Whitecloud's 2009 best seller, The Magician's Way, and latter-day Oprah-blessed classics such as Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now came from New World. In July, it announced a new set of iPhone apps based on works by Tolle, Mother Teresa, and others.
This offshoot of HarperCollins is changing the way the book business runs. It has gotten the major chains to take its titles on a nonreturnable basis; acquired more than 50 authors on a 50-50 profit basis; and created hybrid live/online book tours.
10. The Moth
The not-for-profit runs live storytelling events in four cities. It has leveraged an audience built on iTunes (where it's consistently in the top 15 podcasts overall) to lead a cultural movement (NPR, HBO, books, movies) around "true stories, told live, without notes."