The Atlantic

Last updated on 27 June 2017

The Atlantic is an American magazine and multi-platform publisher, founded in 1857 as The Atlantic Monthly in Boston, Massachusetts. Since 2006, The Atlantic has been based in Washington, D.C.[2] Created as a literary and cultural commentary magazine, it has grown to achieve a reputation for having a moderate mindset in its reporting.[3] The magazine has notably recognized and published new writers and poets, as well as encouraged major careers. It has published leading writers' commentary on abolition, education, and other major issues in contemporary political affairs. The periodical was named Magazine of the Year by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) in 2016.[4]

The first issue of the magazine was published on November 1, 1857.[5][6] The magazine's initiator and founder was Francis H. Underwood, an assistant to the publisher,[7][8][9] who received less recognition than his partners because he was "neither a 'humbug' nor a Harvard man".[10] The other founding sponsors were prominent writers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson; Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Harriet Beecher Stowe; John Greenleaf Whittier; and James Russell Lowell, who served as its first editor.

After experiencing financial hardship and a series of ownership changes, the magazine was reformatted 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".[11][12] In 2010, The Atlantic posted its first profit in a decade. In profiling the publication at the time, The New York Times noted the accomplishment was the result of "a cultural transfusion, a dose of counterintuition and a lot of digital advertising revenue."[13], The Atlantic's flagship website, provides daily coverage and analysis of breaking news, politics and international affairs, education, technology, health, science, and culture. 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 Media Strategies, a creative agency and consulting firm.

The Atlantic's current editor in chief is Jeffrey Goldberg and its president is Bob Cohn. Hayley Romer is publisher and Scott Stossel is editor of the magazine. The Atlantic is part of the portfolio of Washington, D.C.-based media company, Atlantic Media, which is owned by David Bradley.[14]

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Format, publication frequency, and name

The magazine, subscribed to by over 425,000 readers, now publishes ten times a year.[15] 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.[16]

On January 22, 2008, dropped its subscriber wall and allowed users to freely browse its site, including all past archives.[17] At the time, The Atlantic's web properties included, a news- and opinion-tracking site launched in 2009,[18] and in 2011,, a stand-alone website devoted to global cities and trends.[19] 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 2008."[20]

In December 2011, a new Health Channel launched on, incorporating coverage of food, as well as topics related to the mind, body, sex, family, and public health.[21] has also expanded to visual storytelling with the addition of the In Focus photo blog, curated by Alan Taylor.[22] and in 2011 it created its Video Channel.[23] 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 documentaries.[24]

In 2015, launched a dedicated Science section;[25] and in January 2016 it redesigned and expanded its politics section in conjunction with the 2016 U.S. presidential race.[26]

Literary history

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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 the abolitionists Julia Ward Howe ("Battle Hymn of the Republic" on February 1, 1862), and William Parker's slave narrative, "The Freedman's Story" (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 in 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 fiction.

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Atlantic Monthly office, Ticknor & Fields, 124 Tremont Street, Boston, ca.1868[27]

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.[28]

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 hypertext technology.


In addition to its fiction and poetry, The Atlantic has emerged as an influential platform for longform storytelling and newsmaker interviews. Influential cover stories have included Anne Marie Slaughter's 2012 cover story, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All" and Ta-Nehisi Coates's 2014 "Case for Reparations".[30] In 2015, Jeffrey Goldberg's "Obama Doctrine" was a widely discussed by American media and prompted response by many world leaders.[31]

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, Rosie Gray, Gillian White, Adrienne LaFrance, Vann Newkirk, Derek Thompson, David Frum, Peter Beinart, and James Parker.


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The cover of the original issue of The Atlantic, November 1, 1857

For all but recent decades, The Atlantic was known as a distinctively New England literary magazine (as opposed to Harper's and later The New Yorker, both from 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 famous Boston publishing house Ticknor and Fields (later to become part of Houghton Mifflin). 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 Beltway news-focused National Journal Group. 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 its long-time home at 77 North Washington Street in Boston to join the company's advertising and circulation divisions in Washington, D.C.[32] Later in August, Bradley told the New York Observer, cost cutting from the move would amount to a minor $200,000–$300,000 and those savings would be swallowed by severance-related spending. The reason was to create a hub in Washington where the top minds from all of Bradley's publications could collaborate under the Atlantic Media Company umbrella. Few of the Boston staff agreed to relocate, and Bradley embarked on an open search for a new editorial staff.[33]

In 2006, Bradley hired James Bennet as editor-in-chief, who had been the Jerusalem bureau chief for The New York Times. He also hired writers including Jeffrey Goldberg and Andrew Sullivan.[34] Jay Lauf joined the organization as publisher and vice-president in 2008; he is currently publisher and president of Quartz.[35]


Throughout its 159-year history, The Atlantic has been reluctant to issue electoral stances. In 1860, three years into publication, The Atlantic's then-editor James Russell Lowell endorsed Abraham Lincoln for his first run for president and also endorsed the abolition of slavery.[36] In 1964, 104 years later, Edward Weeks wrote on behalf of the editorial board in endorsing Lyndon B. Johnson and rebuking Barry Goldwater's candidacy.[37] In 2016, the editorial board endorsed, the third time since the magazine's founding, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in a rebuke of Donald Trump's candidacy.[38]

The Wire

The Wire (previously known as The Atlantic Wire) was a sister site of that aggregated news and opinions from online, print, radio, and television outlets.[39][40][41] When The Atlantic Wire first launched in 2009, it curated op-eds from across the media spectrum and summarized significant positions in each debate.[41] 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",[42] 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.[43][44]

The Wire was folded back into The Atlantic in 2014.[45]


CityLab (formerly 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 and neighborhoods."[46]

The site was co-founded as The Atlantic Cities by Richard Florida, urban theorist, professor. In 2014, it was rebranded as Today,'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 dozen topics.[47]

In 2015, CityLab partnered with Univision to launch CityLab Latino, which features original journalism in Spanish as well as translated reporting from[48]


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."[49]

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 met with wide criticism. 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 apology.[50][51][52]

List of editors

List of issues

  • The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 113. Contributor Carl Sandburg Collections (University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign Library). Atlantic Monthly Company. 1914. Retrieved April 1, 2013.

See also


  1. ^ "eCirc for Consumer Magazines". Alliance for Audited Media. December 31, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
  2. ^ "Historical Facts About The Atlantic". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  3. ^ "The Atlantic Monthly". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  4. ^ Steigrad, Alexandra (2016-02-02). "The American Society of Magazine Editors Crowns The Atlantic Magazine of the Year at Ellies". WWD. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  5. ^ Berman, Judy (November 10, 2011). "Famous Magazines' First Covers". Flavorwire. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  6. ^ French, Alex. "The Very First Issues of 19 Famous Magazines". Mental Floss. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  7. ^ Chevalier, Tracy (2012). "The Atlantic Monthly American magazine, 1857". Encyclopaedia of the Essay. "The Atlantic Monthly was founded in Boston in 1857 by Francis Underwood (an assistant to the publisher..."
  8. ^ Sedgwick, Ellery (2009). "A History of the Atlantic Monthly, 1857-1909". p. 3. "The Atlantic was founded in 1857 by Francis Underwood, an assistant to the publisher Moses Phillips, and a group of New..."
  9. ^ Whittier, John Greenleaf (1975). The Letters of John Greenleaf Whittier. 2. p. 318. "...however, was the founding of the Atlantic Monthly in 1857. Initiated by Francis Underwood and with Lowell as its first editor, the magazine had been sponsored and organized by Lowell, Emerson, Holmes, and Longfellow. "
  10. ^ Goodman, Susan (2011). Republic of Words: The Atlantic Monthly and Its Writers. p. 90.
  11. ^ "The Atlantic". Retrieved October 7, 2010.
  12. ^ "Home page". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
  13. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. (December 12, 2010). "Web Focus Helps Revitalize The Atlantic". The New York Times. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  14. ^ "Atlantic Media". Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  15. ^ Kuczynski, Alex (May 7, 2001). "Media Talk: This Summer, It's the Atlantic Not-Monthly". The New York Times. Retrieved October 7, 2010. A change of name was not officially announced when the format first changed from a strict monthly (appearing 12 times a year) to a slightly lower frequency.
  16. ^ "The Atlantic". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  17. ^ "Editors' Note". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
  18. ^ Summers, Nick (January 31, 2011). "Exclusive: Ex-Gawker Guy Snyder to Head Atlantic Wire, New Manhattan Staff". The New York Observer. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  19. ^ Welton, Caysey (September 15, 2011). "The Atlantic Debuts". FOLIO Magazine. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  20. ^ Indvik, Lauren (December 19, 2011). "Inside The Atlantic: How One Magazine Got Profitable by Going 'Digital First'". Mashable. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  21. ^ Moses, Lucia (December 13, 2011). "'The Atlantic' Continues Expansion With Health Channel". AdWeek. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  22. ^ Kaufman, Rachel (January 19, 2011). "Alan Taylor Jumps to The Atlantic". Media Bistro's Media Jobs Daily. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  23. ^ Kafka, Peter (August 4, 2011). "The Atlantic Launches a Video Aggregator With a Twist". All Things D. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  24. ^ Dreier, Troy. "The Atlantic Adapts: A Legendary Magazine Meets Online Video - Streaming Media Magazine". Streaming Media Magazine. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  25. ^ Andersen, Ross. "Science Has a New Home on". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  26. ^ "The Atlantic Launches Politics and Policy Expansion". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  27. ^ Boston Directory, 1868.
  28. ^ The Editors (April 16, 2013). "Martin Luther King's 'Letter From Birmingham Jail'". The Atlantic. pp. 78–88.
  29. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help) H.Rheingold, Tools for Thought, especially chapter 9
  30. ^ "'The Atlantic's' Ta-Nehisi Coates Builds 'A Case For Reparations'". Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  31. ^ Landler, Mark (2016-03-10). "Obama Criticizes the ‘Free Riders’ Among America’s Allies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  32. ^ Feeney, Mark; Mehegan, David (April 15, 2005). "Atlantic, 148-year institution, leaving city: Magazine of Twain, James, Howells heads to capital". The Boston Globe.
  33. ^ "Atlantic owner scours country for cinder-editor". New York Observer. August 29 – September 5, 2005.
  34. ^ Kurtz, Howard (August 6, 2007). "The Atlantic's Owner Ponies Up". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
  35. ^ "Atlantic masthead". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
  36. ^ Lowell, James Russell, "The Election in November", The Atlantic, November 1860.
  37. ^ Weeks, Edward, "The 1964 Election", The Atlantic, November 1964.
  38. ^ "Against Donald Trump", The Atlantic, November 2016.
  39. ^ Carr, David (September 16, 2009). "Atlantic Hits the Wire With Lots of Opinions". Media Decoder Blog (The New York Times).
  40. ^ Indvik, Lauren (February 2, 2012). "What's Next for The Atlantic Wire". Mashable.
  41. ^ a b Garber, Megan (September 16, 2009). "More on The Atlantic: Wire They Aggregating?". Columbia Journalism Review.
  42. ^ Garber, Megan (April 1, 2011). "'Trimming the Times': The Atlantic Wire's new feature wants you to make the most of your 20 clicks". Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  43. ^ Pompeo, Joe. "'Atlantic Wire' relaunches as 'The Wire'". Politico. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  44. ^ Bazilian, Emma (November 19, 2013). "The Atlantic Wire Relaunches as The Wire". Adweek. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  45. ^ "The Atlantic shuts down The Wire". Poynter. 2014-09-22. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  46. ^ "The Atlantic Cities". Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  47. ^ "Introducing All Things Urban, from The Atlantic" (Press release). The Atlantic. May 16, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  48. ^ "Bienvenidos a Miami: The Atlantic and Univision are bringing CityLab to Spanish-language audiences". Nieman Lab. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
  49. ^ "50 Best Magazines," Chicago Tribune, June 15, 2006.
  50. ^ Statement from The Atlantic, Natalie Raabe.
  51. ^ Wemple, Erik, "The Atlantic's Scientology problem, start to finish", The Washington Post blog, January 15, 2013.
  52. ^ Stelter, Brian, and Christine Haughney, "The Atlantic Apologizes for Scientology Ad", January 15, 2013, The New York Times.
  53. ^ Calamur, Krishnadev. "The Atlantic′s New Editor in Chief". The Atlantic.

External links

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