The American Prospect

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The American Prospect
cover dated February 1, 2006
EditorDavid Dayen
CategoriesU.S. politics and public policy
Total circulation
(December 2012)
Year founded1990; 31 years ago (1990)
CompanyThe American Prospect, Inc.
CountryUnited States
Based inWashington, D.C.
LanguageAmerican English

The American Prospect is a daily online and quarterly print American political and public policy magazine dedicated to American liberalism and progressivism. Based in Washington, D.C., The American Prospect says it aims "to advance liberal and progressive goals through reporting, analysis, and debate about today's realities and tomorrow's possibilities."[2]


The magazine was founded in 1990 (and initially called The Liberal Prospect) 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[3] and Ellen J. Meany serves as Publisher.[4]

Current editors include Managing Editor Jonathan Guyer, 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.

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 Sheri 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,[5] Matt Yglesias,[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] New staff were hired and the organization built back up. In its early years, the Prospect also undertook a cutting-edge project to connect progressive organizations through its Moving Ideas Network, originally called the Electronic Policy Network, where staff wrote policy statements, advocacy actions, and reports from the late 1990s through 2006 when the project was "adopted" by Care2.[8] The network was absorbed into Care2's Frogloop and general operations.[citation needed]

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."[9]

Current executive editor David Dayen has introduced a new motto to The Prospect: "Ideas, Policy, Power".[10] 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[11] 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.[12]

In 2017, then-Prospect columnist Adele M. Stan won the prestigious Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.[13] 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."

Deputy Editor Gabrielle Gurley was named a finalist in the NABJ 2020 Salute to Excellence Awards, Commentary (Magazines Under 1 Million) for her piece "African Americans Know Pete Buttigieg Very Well".[citation needed]

In 2021, Executive Editor David Dayen won the Hillman Prize in Magazine Journalism for his Unsanitized newsletter series.[14]

Also in 2021, Deputy Editor Gabrielle Gurley won the Gene Burd Award for Excellence in Urban Journalism for her article "Public Transportation in Crisis".[15]

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".[16] In addition to Guyer's win in the Investigative Journalism category, he was also a finalist in two other categories.[citation needed] His piece "How Biden's Foreign-Policy Team Got Rich" was recognized in the magazine feature category. He was also a finalist for Commentary & Criticism, for "Trump's Destructive Legacy in the Middle East",[citation needed] a portfolio of stories that looked at the assassination of Iranian shadow commander Qasem Soleimani, Jordan's arrest of a political cartoonist, and Jared Kushner's transactional approach to human rights.


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.[17] 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 includes an active blog called TAPPED (derived from TAP, the acronym of The American Prospect), as well as a blog by Adam Serwer. Facing financial issues, the magazine reduced its bi-monthly publication schedule to a quarterly publication schedule in 2014.[7]

The Prospect releases periodic special issues.


  1. ^ "Foreign Policy Business Publication Circulation Statement". BPA Worldwide. December 2012. Archived from the original on 2014-04-29. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  2. ^ "About Us". The American Prospect. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  3. ^ Prospect Staff, David Dayen Breaks Down the GameStop Story on Useful Idiots, The American Prospect, February 1, 2021
  4. ^ "About The American Prospect". The American Prospect. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  5. ^ a b Rosenberg, Alyssa (May 30, 2014). "The fate of the American Prospect and what keeps a journalism ecosystem healthy". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  6. ^ Calderone, Michael (June 20, 2012). "American Prospect Exceeds Fundraising Goal, Raises Enough To Stay Alive". Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b Tanzer, Myles (June 2, 2014). "American Prospect Mass Exodus Begins". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  8. ^ Care2. "Care2 Adopts the Moving Ideas Network". Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  9. ^ Meyerson, Harold (2019-10-24). "Sisyphus Is Happy". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  10. ^ "The American Prospect". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  11. ^ "Day One Agenda". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  12. ^ "Winners of the 2010 Utne Independent Press Awards". Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  13. ^ Teuscher, Amanda (2017-04-25). "Adele M. Stan Wins Hillman Prize for Excellence in Journalism". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  14. ^ "Unsanitized". Hillman Foundation. 2021-04-09. Retrieved 2021-05-03.
  15. ^ "Awards". Retrieved 2021-06-07.
  16. ^ 2021 Dateline Award for Investigative Journalism (Magazine)
  17. ^ Goodison, Donna L. (June 14, 2002). "Just what are the prospects for The American Prospect?". Boston Business Journal.

External links[edit]