The American Prospect

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The American Prospect
Cover of the February 1, 2006 edition
Executive EditorDavid Dayen
CategoriesU.S. politics and public policy
Founded1990; 33 years ago (1990)
CompanyThe American Prospect, Inc.
CountryUnited States
Based inWashington, D.C., U.S.
LanguageAmerican English

The American Prospect is a daily online and bimonthly print American political and public policy magazine dedicated to American modern liberalism and progressivism. Based in Washington, D.C., The American Prospect says it "is devoted to promoting informed discussion on public policy from a progressive perspective."[1] Its motto is "Ideas, Politics, and Power".


The magazine, initially called The Liberal Prospect, was founded in 1990 by Robert Kuttner, Robert Reich, and Paul Starr as a response to the perceived ascendancy of conservatism in the 1980s. Kuttner and Starr currently serve as co-editors. As of June 2019, David Dayen serves as executive editor[2] and Ellen J. Meany serves as Publisher.[3]

Current editors include Managing Editor Ryan Cooper, Co-founder and Co-editor Robert Kuttner, Editor-at-Large Harold Meyerson, Co-founder and Co-editor Paul Starr, and Deputy Editor Gabrielle Gurley.

Staff writers and contributors have included Gabriel Arana, Steve Erickson, Adele Stan, Paul Waldman, and EJ Dionne. Upcoming notable contributors to the Prospect's print and online magazine include author David Garrow and Harvard Law professor Randall Kennedy. Eric Alterman serves as its main media criticism columnist.

The Prospect has several programs to focus on the development of the next generation of progressive writers and journalists. Its internship program counts among its alumni Bernie Sanders advisor Matt Duss. Former Prospect intern Shera Avi-Yonah was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship for 2021. Its writing fellowship program enables young writers to develop their skills under an intensive mentoring program that is widely regarded as one of the foremost springboards to fulfilling and impactful careers in journalism and the academy. Program alumni include Ezra Klein,[4] Matt Yglesias,[4] Jamelle Bouie, Adam Serwer, Chris Mooney, Joshua Micah Marshall, Dana Goldstein, Nicholas Confessore, and Kate Sheppard.

In March 2010, The American Prospect entered into an affiliation with Demos, a public policy research and advocacy center based in New York City. The official affiliation ended in 2012. That year, the magazine nearly folded due to financial struggles, but it was able to raise enough money to stay afloat.[5] In 2014, the magazine re-purposed itself as a "quarterly journal of ideas". Kit Rachlis announced he was leaving the editorship of the magazine, senior writer Monica Potts and editor Bob Moser were laid off, while several other editorial staffers left the publication.[6]

In 2019, The Prospect celebrated its 30th anniversary. At the anniversary gala, Kuttner said, "The Prospect has been all about connecting dots—between the structural corruptions of capitalism, the deep analysis of how that operates politically, the narrative story of how regular people experience it, the related corruption of our democracy, and the movement politics of taking America back."[7]

Current executive editor David Dayen has introduced a new motto to The Prospect: "Ideas, Politics, and Power".[8] Dayen has reported extensively on the coronavirus pandemic with his daily newsletters Unsanitized and First 100, and pointed The Prospect's coverage toward Washington insider knowledge, including series like Cabinet Watch, which broke news of several of Joe Biden's high-profile Cabinet appointments.

In 2020, The Prospect introduced its flagship Day One Agenda[9] series outlining the ways in which then-President-Elect Joe Biden could use executive power to implement progressive policy. Reporting from the series has been cited in Vox, Salon, and The Washington Post.[citation needed]

As of 2020, The Prospect partners with news organizations including The Intercept and Dissent Magazine.

Accolades, awards, and recognition[edit]

In 2010, The American Prospect was the recipient of Utne Reader magazine's Utne Independent Press Award for Political Coverage.[10] In 2017, then-Prospect columnist Adele M. Stan won the prestigious Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.[11] Her reporting on the American far-right predicted the Trump presidency. The committee wrote of Stan's work: "Stan's prescient 2016 portfolio stands as a chilling testimony to fearless commentary, and signals the changes we need in public life and in journalism to preserve civil liberties and pursue social justice."

In 2021, Executive Editor David Dayen won the Hillman Prize in Magazine Journalism for his Unsanitized newsletter series.[12]

Also in 2021, Deputy Editor Gabrielle Gurley won the Gene Burd Award for Excellence in Urban Journalism for her article "Public Transportation in Crisis".[13]

Managing Editor Jonathan Guyer won the 2021 Dateline Award for Investigative Journalism (Magazine) recognizing excellence in the category of Investigative Journalism for his feature "The Lucrative Afterlife of a Trump Official".[14]


Originally, The American Prospect published quarterly, then bimonthly. In 2000, thanks to a grant from the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, it became biweekly.[15] Financial and logistical difficulties ensued, and the magazine moved to a ten-issue-per-year format in spring 2003 and a bimonthly format in summer 2012. The online version of the magazine included a blog called TAPPED (derived from TAP, the acronym of The American Prospect). Facing financial issues, the magazine reduced its bi-monthly publication schedule to a quarterly publication schedule in 2014.[6] Starting in 2020, the magazine returned to a bimonthly schedule.

The Prospect releases periodic special issues, including the Green New Deal (November 2019), Caregiving in Crisis (October 2020), and the Supply Chain Debacle (February 2022).


  1. ^ "About Us". The American Prospect. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  2. ^ Prospect Staff, David Dayen Breaks Down the GameStop Story on Useful Idiots, The American Prospect, February 1, 2021
  3. ^ "About The American Prospect". The American Prospect. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Rosenberg, Alyssa (May 30, 2014). "The fate of the American Prospect and what keeps a journalism ecosystem healthy". Washington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  5. ^ Calderone, Michael (June 20, 2012). "American Prospect Exceeds Fundraising Goal, Raises Enough To Stay Alive". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Tanzer, Myles (June 2, 2014). "American Prospect Mass Exodus Begins". BuzzFeed. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  7. ^ Meyerson, Harold (October 24, 2019). "Sisyphus Is Happy". The American Prospect. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  8. ^ "The American Prospect". The American Prospect. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  9. ^ "Day One Agenda". The American Prospect. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  10. ^ "Winners of the 2010 Utne Independent Press Awards". Retrieved October 27, 2010.
  11. ^ Teuscher, Amanda (April 25, 2017). "Adele M. Stan Wins Hillman Prize for Excellence in Journalism". The American Prospect. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
  12. ^ "Unsanitized". Hillman Foundation. April 9, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  13. ^ "Awards". Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  14. ^ 2021 Dateline Award for Investigative Journalism (Magazine)
  15. ^ Goodison, Donna L. (June 14, 2002). "Just what are the prospects for The American Prospect?". Boston Business Journal.

External links[edit]