Cover of The Atlantic
|Editor in Chief||James Bennet|
|Categories||Literature, political science, foreign affairs|
|Frequency||10 issues a year|
|Founder||Francis H. Underwood
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
|Based in||Washington, D.C.|
The Atlantic is an American magazine, founded (as The Atlantic Monthly) in 1857 in Boston, Massachusetts, now based in Washington, D.C. It was created as a literary and cultural commentary magazine, growing to achieve a national reputation as a high-quality review with a moderate worldview. The magazine has notably recognized and published new writers and poets, as well as encouraged major careers. It has also published leading writers' commentary on abolition, education, and other major issues in contemporary political affairs. The magazine has won more National Magazine Awards than any other monthly magazine.
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".
The magazine's initiator and founder was Francis H. Underwood, an assistant to the publisher, who received less recognition than his partners because he was "neither a 'humbug' nor a Harvard man". 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.
In 2010, The Atlantic posted its first profit in the previous 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."
Format, publication frequency, and name
The magazine, subscribed to by over 400,000 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 the arts, the economy, foreign affairs, political science, and technology. Regular contributors include James Fallows and Jeffrey Goldberg.
In April 2005, The Atlantic 's editors decided to cease publishing fiction in regular issues in favor of a newsstand-only annual fiction issue edited by longtime staffer C. Michael Curtis. They have since re-instituted the practice.
On January 22, 2008, TheAtlantic.com dropped its subscriber wall and allowed users to freely browse its site, including all past archives. In addition to TheAtlantic.com, The Atlantic's web properties have expanded to include TheAtlanticWire.com, a news- and opinion-tracking site launched in 2009, and in 2011, TheAtlanticCities.com, a stand-alone website 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 2008."
TheAtlantic.com covers politics, business, entertainment, technology, health, international affairs, and more. 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 the Video Channel.
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.
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 hypertext technology.
In addition to its fiction and poetry, the magazine publishes writing on society and politics. "A three-part series by William Langewiesche in 2002 on the rebuilding of the World Trade Center generated headlines, as have articles by James Fallows on planning for the Iraq war and reconstruction."
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. 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.
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. Jay Lauf joined the organization as publisher and vice-president in 2008.
The Wire (previously known as The Atlantic Wire) is a sister site of TheAtlantic.com that aggregates 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 site previously featured The Atlantic 50, a ranked list of what the editors described as the top opinion-makers in the media, created using an algorithm based on influence, reach, and web engagement. The Atlantic Wire rebranded itself as The Wire in November 2013.
CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities) is the latest expansion of The Atlantics 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." Featuring the work of Richard Florida, urban theorist, professor, and Atlantic senior editor, TheAtlanticCities.com also has been described as showcasing leading voices in the urban planning and community building arenas. The Atlantic Cities was rebranded as CityLab on May 16, 2014.
In June 2006, the Chicago Tribune named it 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 September 10, 2012, Salon criticized the current iteration of The Atlantic beginning with, "The magazine's features are always engaging but often seem to lack critical historical perspective", and the provocative, "Is the Atlantic making us stupid?"
Controversy and criticism
The Atlantic Media Company receives substantial financial support from the Gates Foundation through the National Journal ($240,000+) to provide coverage of education-related issues that are of interest to the Gates Foundation and its frequent partner in education policy initiatives, the Lumina Foundation. Critics have suggested that this funding may lead to biased coverage and have noted the Lumina Foundation's connections to the private student loan company Sallie Mae. Gates-funding of the National Journal is not always disclosed in articles or editorials about the Gates Foundation or Bill Gates, or in coverage of education white papers by other Lumina or Gates Foundation grantees, such as the New America Foundation.
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, 2003–2006 (interim editor, never named editor in chief)
- James Bennet, 2006–present
List of issues
- The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 113. Contributor Carl Sandburg Collections (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library). Atlantic Monthly Company. 1914. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- "eCirc for Consumer Magazines". Alliance for Audited Media. June 30, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- "The Atlantic". amazon.com. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
- "The Atlantic". Retrieved October 7, 2010.
- Encyclopaedia of the Essay Tracy Chevalier - 2012 "The Atlantic Monthly American magazine, 1857The Atlantic Monthly was founded in Boston in 1857 by Francis Underwood (an assistant to the publisher..."
- A History of the Atlantic Monthly, 1857-1909 Ellery Sedgwick - 2009 p.3 "The Atlantic was founded in 1857 by Francis Underwood, an assistant to the publisher Moses Phillips, and a group of New ..."
- The Letters of John Greenleaf Whittier Volume 2 1975 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. "
- Susan Goodman Republic of Words: The Atlantic Monthly and Its Writers 2011 p. 90 "Francis Parkman thought that the Atlantic's founder, Francis Underwood, never received adequate recognition because he was neither a “humbug” nor a Harvard man"
- Peters, Jeremy W. (December 12, 2010). "Web Focus Helps Revitalize The Atlantic". The New York Times. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- Kuczynski, Alex (May 7, 2001). "Media Talk: This Summer, It's the Atlantic Not-Monthly". The New York Times. Retrieved October 7, 2010.[dead link] 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.
- "The Atlantic's Masthead". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "Editors' Note". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
- 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.
- Kinsman, Matt (September 15, 2011). "The Atlantic Debuts TheAtlanticCities.com". FOLIO Magazine. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- Indvik, Lauren (December 19, 2011). "Inside The Atlantic: How One Magazine Got Profitable by Going 'Digital First'". Mashable. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- Moses, Lucia (December 13, 2011). "'The Atlantic' Continues Expansion With Health Channel". AdWeek. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- Kaufman, Rachel (January 19, 2011). "Alan Taylor Jumps to The Atlantic". Media Bistro's Media Jobs Daily. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- Kafka, Peter (August 4, 2011). "The Atlantic Launches a Video Aggregator With a Twist". All Things D. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
- Boston Directory, 1868.
- Feeney, Mark; Mehegan, David (April 15, 2005). "Atlantic, 148-year institution, leaving city: Magazine of Twain, James, Howells heads to capital". The Boston Globe.
- "Atlantic owner scours country for cinder-editor". New York Observer. August 29 – September 5, 2005.
- Kurtz, Howard (August 6, 2007). "The Atlantic's Owner Ponies Up". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 18, 2007.
- "Atlantic masthead". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
- Carr, David (September 16, 2009). "Atlantic Hits the Wire With Lots of Opinions". Media Decoder Blog (The New York Times).
- Indvik, Lauren (February 2, 2012). "What's Next for The Atlantic Wire". Mashable.
- Garber, Megan (September 16, 2009). "More on The Atlantic: Wire They Aggregating?". Columbia Journalism Review.
- "'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.
- "People". theatlanticwire.com. Retrieved October 7, 2010.[dead link]
- "'Atlantic Wire' relaunches as 'The Wire'". Capital New York. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- "The Atlantic Wire Relaunches as The Wire". Adweek. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- "The Atlantic Cities". TheAtlanticCities.com. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "The Atlantic Debuts TheAtlanticCities.com". Folio.com. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
- "Introducing CityLab.com: All Things Urban, from The Atlantic" (Press release). The Atlantic. 2014-05-16. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
- "50 Best Magazines," Chicago Tribune, June 15, 2006.
- Jennifer Ruark, "To Shape the National Conversation, Gates and Lumina Support Journalism," The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2013
- Ben Grose, Strategic Philanthropy Comes to Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2013
- Molly-Hensley Clancy & Katie J.M. Baker, How A Private Foundation With Student Loan Ties Became A Force In Higher Education, BuzzFeed, May 22, 2014
- Jennifer Ruark, "In the Foundation 'Echo Chamber'", The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2013
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- Official website
- The Wire
- A History of The Atlantic
- The Atlantic archival writings by topic
- Online archive of The Atlantic (earliest issues up to December 1901)
- The American Idea: The Best of The Atlantic Monthly
- The Atlantic issues at Project Gutenberg
- Hathi Trust. Atlantic Monthly digitized issues, 1857-