“Our goal here is ambitious,” says Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic. “We are hoping to bring Atlantic-quality journalism to a global audience in a very deliberate way. There is no one better to lead this effort than Jim Fallows, who understands in his bones the qualities that make a great Atlantic story, and whose desire for innovation and adventure is limitless.”
In becoming The Atlantic’s first Europe editor, Jim Fallows makes good on a prescient recent column by David Brooks, who wrote that the Fallowses have always gone where history is being made. Jim Fallows is The Atlantic’s most seasoned reporter; he wrote his first piece for the magazine on Lloyd Bentsen in December 1974, joined its staff in 1979, and has authored nearly 100 cover stories in the decades since. As a blogger in the nascent days of TheAtlantic.com, Fallows was one of a small group of writers, including Goldberg and correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates, who helped shape the site’s voice and develop its audience.
In recent years, Jim and Deb have crisscrossed the United States by small plane (piloted by Jim) to report on how small cities and towns are faring for the series American Futures. They are currently writing a book based on their reporting. The Fallowses were married in England and lived there in the early 1970s while Jim studied economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. During the first two years of the Carter administration, Fallows served as the president’s chief White House speechwriter.
Joining Fallows to open the bureau will be Atlantic staff writer Sophie Gilbert, a native Londoner who covers culture and entertainment. Gilbert, who began with The Atlantic in 2014, has also been its culture and features editor.
The Atlantic will build a global sales and marketing team, bringing on new staff to work with Lucy Kirkland, The Atlantic’s Executive Director, EMEA. The Atlantic’s pioneering work in the native advertising space in the U.S. has helped to transform its revenue model; it plans to expand the work of Atlantic Re:think, its branded content studio, to international advertising partners in the coming year.
The Atlantic has a long history of looking to the world for its pages; in fact, its first issue in 1857 was supposed to have been made up of commissioned pieces from England but the trunk containing those essays was lost on a New York pier. Some of its most-read reporting has been on international affairs, including the recent cover stories “What ISIS Really Wants” and “Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?”
This international expansion comes at a time of record growth for The Atlantic, reflected in audience to TheAtlantic.com, magazine subscriptions and newsstand sales, revenue, and staff growth. Audience to TheAtlantic.com reached a new record of 33.7 million monthly uniques in February 2017. Bucking the industry’s downward trends on newsstand, The Atlantic in 2016 increased single-copy newsstand sales by 19 percent. Total revenues across businesses grew 18 percent in 2016 on top of 20 percent growth in both 2015 and 2014.