The Atlantic is an American magazine and multi-platform publisher,
founded in 1857 as
The Atlantic Monthly in Boston, Massachusetts. The
magazine was created as a literary and cultural commentary magazine,
and published leading writers' commentary on abolition, education, and
other major issues in contemporary political affairs.
The magazine's initiator, and one of the founders, was Francis H.
Underwood, The other founding sponsors were prominent writers
including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Henry
Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Greenleaf
James Russell Lowell
James Russell Lowell was its first editor.
After struggling with financial hardship and a series of ownership
changes since the late 20th century, the magazine was reformatted in
the early 21st century as a general editorial magazine. Focusing on
"foreign affairs, politics, and the economy [as well as] cultural
trends," it is now primarily aimed at a target audience of serious
national readers and "thought leaders." In 2010, The Atlantic
posted its first profit in a decade. The periodical was named
Magazine of the Year by the American Society of Magazine Editors
(ASME) in 2016. Since 2017 the publication is majority owned by
Emerson Collective, which purchased its stake in 2017 from businessman
and publisher David G. Bradley, who retains a minority interest and
remains the operating partner.
TheAtlantic.com provides daily coverage and analysis of breaking news,
politics and international affairs, education, technology, health,
science, and culture. The editor of the website is Adrienne LaFrance.
In addition to the print magazine and website,
The Atlantic houses an
editorial events arm, AtlanticLIVE; Atlantic Re:think, its creative
marketing team; and Atlantic 57, a creative agency and consulting
firm. The Atlantic's President is Bob Cohn.
1 Format, publication frequency, and name
2 Literary history
5 The Wire
8 List of editors
9 See also
11 External links
Format, publication frequency, and name
The magazine, subscribed to by over 450,000 readers, now publishes ten
times a year. As the former name suggests, it was a monthly
magazine for 144 years until 2001, when it published eleven issues; it
published ten issues yearly from 2003 on, dropped "Monthly" from the
cover starting with the January/February 2004 issue, and officially
changed the name in 2007.
The Atlantic features articles in the fields
of politics, foreign affairs, business and the economy, culture and
the arts, technology, and science.
On January 22, 2008, TheAtlantic.com dropped its subscriber wall and
allowed users to freely browse its site, including all past
archives. By 2011 The Atlantic's web properties included
TheAtlanticWire.com, a news- and opinion-tracking site launched in
2009, and TheAtlanticCities.com, a stand-alone website started in
2011 that was devoted to global cities and trends. According to a
Mashable profile in December 2011, "traffic to the three web
properties recently surpassed 11 million uniques per month, up a
staggering 2500% since
The Atlantic brought down its paywall in early
In December 2011, a new Health Channel launched on TheAtlantic.com,
incorporating coverage of food, as well as topics related to the mind,
body, sex, family, and public health. TheAtlantic.com has also
expanded to visual storytelling with the addition of the In Focus
photo blog, curated by Alan Taylor. and in 2011 it created its
Video Channel. Initially created as an aggregator, The Atlantic's
Video component, Atlantic Studios, has since evolved in an in-house
production studio that create custom video series and original
In 2015, TheAtlantic.com launched a dedicated Science section and
in January 2016 it redesigned and expanded its politics section in
conjunction with the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
First publication of "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
A leading literary magazine,
The Atlantic has published many
significant works and authors. It was the first to publish pieces by
Julia Ward Howe
Julia Ward Howe ("Battle Hymn of the Republic" on
February 1, 1862), and William Parker, whose slave narrative, "The
Freedman's Story" was published in February and March 1866. It also
published Charles W. Eliot's "The New Education", a call for practical
reform, that led to his appointment to presidency of Harvard
University in 1869; works by
Charles Chesnutt before he collected them
The Conjure Woman
The Conjure Woman (1899); and poetry and short stories, helping
launch many national literary careers. For example,
Emily Dickinson, after reading an article in
The Atlantic by Thomas
Wentworth Higginson, asked him to become her mentor.
In 2005, the magazine won a National Magazine Award for
Atlantic Monthly office, Ticknor & Fields, 124 Tremont Street,
The magazine also published many of the works of Mark Twain, including
one that was lost until 2001. Editors have recognized
major cultural changes and movements. For example, the magazine
published Martin Luther King, Jr.'s defense of civil disobedience in
"Letter from Birmingham Jail" in August 1963.
The magazine has also published speculative articles that inspired the
development of new technologies. The classic example is Vannevar
Bush's essay "As We May Think" (July 1945), which inspired Douglas
Engelbart and later
Ted Nelson to develop the modern workstation and
In addition to publishing notable fiction and poetry,
The Atlantic has
emerged in the 21st century as an influential platform for longform
storytelling and newsmaker interviews. Influential cover stories have
included Anne Marie Slaughter's "Why Women Still Can't Have It All"
(2012) and Ta-Nehisi Coates's "Case for Reparations" (2014). In
2015, Jeffrey Goldberg's "Obama Doctrine" was a widely discussed by
American media and prompted response by many world leaders.
As of 2017, writers and frequent contributors to the print magazine
include James Fallows, Jeffrey Goldberg, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Molly Ball,
Caitlin Flanagan, James Hamblin, Julia Ioffe, Jonathan Rauch, McKay
Coppins, Rosie Gray, Gillian White, Adrienne LaFrance, Vann Newkirk,
Derek Thompson, David Frum, Peter Beinart, and James Parker.
The cover of the original issue of The Atlantic, November 1, 1857
Until recent decades,
The Atlantic was known as a distinctively New
England literary magazine (as opposed to
Harper's and later The New
Yorker, both published in New York City). It achieved a national
reputation and was important to the careers of many American writers
and poets. By its third year, it was published by the
Boston publishing house
Ticknor and Fields
Ticknor and Fields (later to become part
of Houghton Mifflin), based in the city known for
literary culture. The magazine was purchased in 1908 by its then
editor, Ellery Sedgwick, but remained in Boston.
In 1980, the magazine was acquired by Mortimer Zuckerman, property
magnate and founder of
Boston Properties, who became its chairman. On
September 27, 1999, Zuckerman transferred ownership of the magazine to
David G. Bradley, owner of the
National Journal Group, which focused
on news of Washington, D.C., and government. Bradley had promised that
the magazine would stay in
Boston for the foreseeable future, as it
did for the next five and a half years.
In April 2005, however, the publishers announced that the editorial
offices would be moved from their longtime home at 77 North Washington
Boston to join the company's advertising and circulation
divisions in Washington, D.C. Later in August, Bradley told the
New York Observer
New York Observer that the move was not made to save money —
near-term savings would be $200,000–$300,000, a relatively small
amount that would be swallowed by severance-related spending — but
instead would serve to create a hub in Washington where the top minds
from all of Bradley's publications could collaborate under the
Atlantic Media Company
Atlantic Media Company umbrella. Few of the
Boston staff agreed to
move, and Bradley embarked on an open search for a new editorial
In 2006, Bradley hired James Bennet as editor-in-chief; he had been
the Jerusalem bureau chief for The New York Times. He also hired
Jeffrey Goldberg and Andrew Sullivan. Jay Lauf
joined the organization as publisher and vice-president in 2008; as of
2017, he was publisher and president of Quartz.
Bennet and Bob Cohn became co-presidents of
The Atlantic in early
2014, and Cohn became the publication's sole president in March
Jeffrey Goldberg was named editor in chief in October
On July 28, 2017,
The Atlantic announced that multi-billionaire
investor and philanthropist
Laurene Powell Jobs
Laurene Powell Jobs (the widow of former
Apple Inc. chairman and CEO Steve Jobs) had acquired majority
ownership through her
Emerson Collective organization, with a staff
member of Emerson Collective, Peter Lattman, being immediately named
as The Atlantic‘s vice chairman.
David G. Bradley and Atlantic Media
retained a minority share position in this sale.
Throughout its 159-year history,
The Atlantic has been reluctant to
recommend candidates in elections. In 1860, three years into
publication, The Atlantic's then-editor
James Russell Lowell
James Russell Lowell endorsed
Abraham Lincoln for his first run for president and also endorsed the
abolition of slavery. In 1964, 104 years later, Edward Weeks wrote
on behalf of the editorial board in endorsing
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson and
rebuking Barry Goldwater's candidacy. In 2016, the editorial board
endorsed a presidential candidate, for the third time since the
magazine's founding: Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, in a rebuke
of Donald Trump's candidacy.
The Wire (previously known as
The Atlantic Wire) was a sister site of
TheAtlantic.com that aggregated news and opinions from online, print,
radio, and television outlets. When
The Atlantic Wire
first launched in 2009, it curated op-eds from across the media
spectrum and summarized significant positions in each debate.
Expanded to encompass news and original reporting, regular features
include "What I Read", showcasing the media diets of individuals from
the worlds of entertainment, journalism, and politics, and "Trimming
the Times", a summary of the feature editor's choices of the best
content in The New York Times.
The Atlantic Wire rebranded itself as
The Wire in November 2013.
The Wire was folded back into
The Atlantic in 2014.
The Atlantic Cities) is the latest expansion of The
Atlantic's digital properties, launched in September 2011. The
stand-alone site has been described as exploring and explaining "the
most innovative ideas and pressing issues facing today's global cities
The site was co-founded as
The Atlantic Cities by Richard Florida,
urban theorist, professor. In 2014, it was rebranded as CityLab.com.
Today, CityLab.com's coverage areas include design, politics, crime,
and housing. Among its offerings are Navigator, "a guide to urban
life," and CityFixer, which curates solutions-based stories around a
In 2015, CityLab partnered with Univision to launch CityLab Latino,
which features original journalism in Spanish as well as translated
reporting from CityLab.com.
In June 2006, the
Chicago Tribune named
The Atlantic one of the top
ten English-language magazines, describing it as "a gracefully aging
... 150-year-old granddaddy of periodicals" because "it keeps us smart
and in the know" with cover stories on the then-forthcoming fight over
Roe v. Wade. It also lauded regular features such as "Word Fugitives"
and "Primary Sources" as "cultural barometers."
On January 14, 2013, The Atlantic's website published "sponsor
content" about David Miscavige, the leader of the Church of
Scientology. While the magazine had previously published advertising
looking like articles, this one was widely criticized. The page
comments were moderated by the marketing team, not by editorial staff;
comments critical of the church were being removed while comments
praising the church were being downvoted by readers. Later that day,
The Atlantic removed the piece from its website and issued an
List of editors
James Russell Lowell, 1857–61
James Thomas Fields, 1861–71
William Dean Howells, 1871–81
Thomas Bailey Aldrich, 1881–90
Horace Elisha Scudder, 1890–98
Walter Hines Page, 1898–99
Bliss Perry, 1899–1909
Ellery Sedgwick, 1909–38
Edward A. Weeks, 1938–66
Robert Manning, 1966–80
William Whitworth, 1980–99
Michael Kelly, 1999–2003
Cullen Murphy, 2003–06 (interim editor, never named editor in chief)
James Bennet, 2006–16
Jeffrey Goldberg, 2016–present
List of literary magazines
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