Journalist Doree Shafrir
Photo: Joanna DeGeneres

Doree Shafrir’s Favorite Media Outlets—Slow, Singular, and Unconventional—Mirror Her Life

The Los Angeles–based journalist prefers stories about complex social and cultural phenomena that are at once intelligent, amusing, and real.
By Kathryn O’Shea-Evans
July 3, 2021
5 minute read

Los Angeles–based journalist Doree Shafrir sees beauty in the particular challenges faced by those who find their footing a bit later in life. She identifies as one such person, having married at 38 and become a mother at 41. “I had so much shame about that for a long time,” she says, noting that she felt out of sync with her peers. “It took me a while to really come to terms with it, and to understand that this is what made me who I am.” Shafrir, who was among the first editors hired by Gawker and BuzzFeed, pours her lighthearted yet critical perspective on her experience into Forever35, a self-care podcast she co-hosts with her longtime friend Kate Spencer, and into her new memoir, Thanks for Waiting: The Joy (& Weirdness) of Being a Late Bloomer (Ballantine Books), out this week. In the book, she interrogates the often overwhelming pressure that people—particularly women—feel to achieve specific benchmarks by specific moments in their lives, and why taking the time to find one’s way can be a more fruitful, and ultimately more rewarding, approach to existence. Here, we ask Shafrir about her media diet, which focuses, perhaps unsurprisingly, on stories about complex social and cultural phenomena that are at once intelligent, amusing, and real.

How do you start your mornings?

I wake up, look at the clock, and look at the baby monitor to see if my son is awake. Then I lie in bed for around half an hour and read on my Kindle. I like anything compelling and fast-paced. A few books I’ve enjoyed lately include Tia Williams’s Seven Days in June, which is a really great rom-com that also deals with invisible illness in a deft way, and Nicole LaPorte’s Guilty Admissions, about the Varsity Blues [college admissions] scandal—I thought I knew the details of that case, but it turns out there’s so much more to know! Right now I’m reading the Outlander series, which the TV show is based on. It’s a perfect, historical, epic romance.

What are your daily reads?

I always check The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Post. I read the Post because it’s a little more gossipy, though I don’t agree with its politics. And I check Twitter when I’m at my computer. I took it and Facebook off my phone a couple months ago, because I felt like I was looking at them constantly. It’s nice not having that option anymore.

What are your favorite podcasts?

I love Be There in Five, hosted by [Chicago-based author and entrepreneur] Kate Kennedy. She does these deep dives into mostly pop culture and influencer culture. Her episodes are lengthy—they’re two, sometimes close to three hours long. She’ll just go off on these tangents. Last fall, she did this amazing three-part series on [motivational speaker and self help–book author] Rachel Hollis. The way her mind works is fascinating to me.

I also just listened to Welcome to Your Fantasy, a podcast about the dark history of Chippendales hosted by Natalia Petrzela. It was incredible.

Go-to email newsletters?

Writer Anne Helen Petersen does a newsletter called Culture Study that I adore. Its conceit is that you should think more, not less, about the world around you, especially when it comes to things that have become part of the status quo. Another one, Garbage Day, written by my former BuzzFeed coworker Ryan Broderick, is about how being online [can actually be fun]. And I really enjoy High Tea. It’s about the internet, too, but mostly about YouTube and TikTok. I don’t watch YouTube, and I rarely watch TikTok, but there’s something about the way its authors dissect them that’s completely captivating.

There’s also the fashion-and-style newsletter Blackbird Spyplane, written by Jonah Weiner and Erin Wylie. It’s very funny, and very smart. And my friend, the writer and podcaster Aminatou Sow, has a newsletter called Crème de la Crème that’s simply about what’s on her mind. She’s one of those people who has such cool interests—you want to know what she’s into.

Any guilty pleasures?

I try not to think about things as guilty pleasures. But one of the only shows I recently watched week-to-week was Hacks, on HBO Max. I loved that show. Now you can binge it, because the season’s over. On Netflix, I like Call My Agent! and Shtisel. The latter centers on a family that lives in an ultra-Orthodox area of Jerusalem, and it’s fascinating. I just get so invested in the stories.