Washington, D.C. (January 6, 2015)—Following a year of record-setting audience growth for TheAtlantic.com, the site is welcoming Yoni Appelbaum as its new politics editor and has named Sophie Gilbert as its culture editor. J.J. Gould, editor of TheAtlantic.com, announced the moves today, along with the promotions of David A. Graham and Spencer Kornhaber to staff writer roles, in which they will cover political and global news, and pop culture and music, respectively.
“Yoni and Sophie are ideal people to have leading our coverage in these areas: They’re super smart; they have rich knowledge, creative instincts, and distinctive voices; and they’re just really good people,” said Gould. “David and Spencer—huge talents who’ve been invaluable to the site for years and are now moving into writing roles they were built for—were both heavily involved in their selection, which is further reason to feel great about them.”
Appelbaum is a social and cultural historian with a Ph.D. in American History from Brandeis University, and joins The Atlantic from Harvard where he’s been a lecturer on history and literature. He had an unconventional start with The Atlantic: as a frequent commenter on the site, specifically to posts by national correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates. Appelbaum’s comments caught the attention of Coates and The Atlantic’s editors, who invited him to become a contributing writer.
“Yoni was essential to the last two or three pieces I wrote for the magazine—reading them and offering rigorous academic critique,” says Coates. “He’s proof that there is wisdom everywhere: that it’s possible to find someone like him in a comments section online. We’re getting someone who has been a part of The Atlantic for a long time. There’s no one like him in the world of journalism; he’s an original.”
Gilbert has been a senior editor at The Atlantic since May 2014, editing special reports and projects and writing frequently on entertainment and culture. Several of her pieces have become the site’s most popular entertainment features, from a review of the Keanu Reeves’s film John Wick, to the unconventional look and stardom of Benedict Cumberbatch, to how clowns became so terrifying. Before joining The Atlantic, Gilbert was the arts editor at Washingtonian, where she wrote features and managed all cultural coverage in the magazine and online. Gilbert has written for The Washington Post, The New Republic, and Slate. She moved to the U.S. from London in 2007, earning her M.A. in magazine journalism at New York University while interning for Vogue and Slate.
TheAtlantic.com is an award-winning site, publishing dozens of original pieces daily on politics, business, culture, technology, health, education, and global affairs. It is also the digital home of The Atlantic magazine and Atlantic Video. October to December 2014 were the strongest three months of consecutive traffic in the site’s history, setting records for both unique visitors and page views. James Bennet is editor in chief and president of The Atlantic. TheAtlantic.com is led by Gould; Matt Thompson is the deputy editor.