This Is Excellent News


I have a weird if (for readers of this blog) somewhat predictable reaction to this:

The Atlantic, the intellectual's monthly that always seemed more comfortable as an academic exercise than a business, is on track to turn a tidy profit of $1.8 million this year. That would be the first time in at least a decade that it had not lost money.

I've been in long-form journalism for just short of fifteen years. I think I published my first piece when some of my readers were in pre-K. With the exception of my first gig (at the still wonderful Washington City Paper) everywhere I've worked has been utter and complete turmoil. Within a span of seven years, I had three different jobs at three different companies and was either asked to leave, forced out, or laid off. Now some of this had to do with my own flaws which are--let's face it--legion. My near perfect comprehension of grammar, for instance, tends to annoy my less gifted colleagues. I am also sure my attempt to collect reparations from TIME Inc. via expenses, did not improve my station.

But these minor flaws (What? I can't expense my kid's Kwanzaa gifts? Racism!) were always off-set by the greater problems in the business as a whole. Put bluntly, the first decade of the aughts were an awful time for writers. I think somewhere around 2007, I began reconciling myself to the idea that writing would have to be my hobby and I needed to go back to making a living as a delivery boy. And so it is rather amazing to, at this moment, to be employed at a company that's actually financially successful, so much so that I am not sure I yet believe it. 

All kidding aside, it must be said that whatever good fortune we are experiencing here at The Atlantic flows, first and foremost, from our readers. I think our overlords were smart to encourage a synergy between online and print, but, ultimately, if no one comes to see the product, it doesn't much matter. In that spirit, I want to thank the readers of The Atlantic at large, and specifically thank the people who hang out here. Whatever regard you hold for my modest talents, please remember that I spent the better part of the last decade searching for an outlet, with decidedly mixed results, until I landed on the door step of Messrs. Bradley, Bennet, Gibney and Cohn.

I will always see myself as the West Baltimore kid who failed his way through high school, and dropped out of college. Thus whatever I have acquired in my career, has been my good fortune. The better part of that acquisition has been made here. To be frank, this magazine changed my life. Here is how it can change yours.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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