Wen Stephenson
Editor, The Atlantic Online (1996-2001)

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Stephenson photo "Language is more than 'content,'" Wen Stephenson wrote in a 1995 essay, "it is itself a medium ... and it transcends print, paper, silicon, electricity, even the human voice.... If we venture beyond the too-easy opposition of print and pixel, we might find that literature will take to the digital environment more naturally than many would expect."

Stephenson served as an editor of The Atlantic Monthly's online edition (first on America Online and then on the World Wide Web) shortly after starting at the magazine as Special Projects editor in 1994, and he was among the original architects and editors of The Atlantic's Web site, which launched on November 1, 1995. He became the editorial director of the magazine's New Media department in 1996, charged with the task of developing an original online publication, Atlantic Unbound, that would serve as a supplement to The Atlantic's print edition. In 1997 the site was relaunched and was selected as a finalist for the first-ever National Magazine Award for General Excellence in New Media. It was again a finalist in 1998, and in 2000 was a finalist for both the National Magazine Award and the first annual Online Journalism Award for General Excellence. In 2001 the site was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Best Interactive Design.

In April of 1996, Stephenson oversaw the launch of The Atlantic's online Poetry Pages, among the first poetry sites of its kind, with its "Audible Anthology" of Atlantic poets reading their work aloud. Today, the Poetry Pages section is widely recognized as one of the Internet's most prominent literary offerings.

Stephenson was born and raised in southern California, where he attended public schools, and went on to attend Harvard University. He graduated with honors in 1990 with a degree in American history and literature, and in 1993 he received a master's degree from the University of Chicago, where he was a doctoral candidate in English. While in Chicago he served as an associate editor of the literary quarterly Chicago Review. Stephenson has written frequently on new media, literature, and culture for Atlantic Unbound and other publications, including The Atlantic Monthly. In 2001 he left The Atlantic to become managing editor of the Web edition of PBS's Frontline, and in March 2004 he moved to The Boston Globe, where he is now the deputy editor of the Ideas section.


Copyright © 2001 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.