Washington, D.C. (July 15, 2014)—Margaret Low Smith is joining The Atlantic as its Vice President, and President of AtlanticLIVE, the organization’s events division that creates conversations around pressing issues and ideas. Smith comes to The Atlantic from NPR, where she ran a division of nearly 400 journalists as its senior vice president of news since early 2011; she previously led all programming for NPR. She will join The Atlantic in early September.
“Margaret is a newsroom leader who understands the high editorial and product standards we strive to meet every day,” said Bob Cohn, president and chief operating officer of The Atlantic. “Her many successes at NPR have been the result of her creativity, strategic intelligence, and business rigor. She arrives at AtlanticLIVE during its best year ever—our events are having impact on the national conversation and the division itself is an integral (and growing) part of The Atlantic’s portfolio. Margaret will build on this record, taking LIVE in new and exciting directions.”
In this role, Smith will oversee all aspects of AtlanticLIVE. The Atlantic produces dozens of large-scale events each year in Washington, D.C. and in cities across the country, from forums on global innovation, to intimate interviews with tech entrepreneurs, to public events based on magazine cover stories. This year, AtlanticLIVE has seen record growth, with a 37 percent increase in revenue in the first half of the year.
Smith will lead a talented team that includes Steve Clemons, Washington editor-at-large of The Atlantic and head of LIVE content, and Emily Akhtarzandi, who leads the LIVE sales team as managing director of business development. Smith replaces Elizabeth Baker Keffer, the founding president of AtlanticLIVE.
“I’m thrilled to be joining such a smart, enterprising, and talented team,” said Smith. “AtlanticLIVE has set the standard in the events space and now the team is ready to raise the bar even higher. The potential to expand the editorial ambition and grow the business is enormous, and I can’t wait to get started.”
In her current role at NPR, Smith oversees the day-to-day operations of the NPR News division. She led NPR in its coverage of many watershed events, including coverage of presidential and midterm elections and the Arab Spring, and launched editorial teams covering race, ethnicity and culture; education; and global health and development. Smith first joined NPR 32 years ago as an overnight production assistant for Morning Edition. She was vice president for programming from 2000-2010, where she was in charge of all NPR program distribution deals and managed the network’s relationships with its acquired shows. She also oversaw Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! and built an events strategy for the news quiz show.
A flagship series for AtlanticLIVE is the Ideas series, held in partnership with the Aspen Institute, and which just concluded its tenth annual Aspen Ideas Festival with more than 4,000 attendees across 10 days. The Washington Ideas Forum will be held in October, and the third annual New York Ideas summit convened in May. Coming this fall is CityLab, in partnership with the Aspen Institute and Bloomberg Philanthropies, now in its second year and taking place in Los Angeles in late September, to engage global mayors and urban leaders in a series of conversations about the bold, scalable ideas and solutions that are transforming metro centers into more livable and sustainable cities.