Washington, D.C. (December 19, 2017)—When The Atlantic published journalist Alex Tizon’s deeply personal account of his life with Eudocia Tomas Pulido, or Lola as he called her, who spent six decades as the Tizon family’s secret slave in the United States, the response was tremendous. Lola’s story quickly stirred an international debate over the complex issues of human rights, culture, and tradition, rocketing the June 2017 cover story to become one of the most-read and reacted-to stories in the magazine’s 160-year history.
Now, with nearly 58 million minutes—or 110 years—of collective reading time, “My Family’s Slave” is the most-engaged story on the internet in 2017, according to the analytics platform Chartbeat. The piece has more than triple the engagement of the number two article on this year’s list. With five other Atlantic articles in the top 50, including Jean Twenge’s widely-discussed September magazine issue feature, “Are Smartphones Destroying a Generation?” in the top five, The Atlantic accounts for 20 percent of total engagement of the top 50 articles measured by Chartbeat.
Tizon died suddenly at the age of 57 just a few weeks before the story’s publication. The Atlantic editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg said of the response to “My Family’s Slave”: “People value story, great writing, and honest emotion. When we published Alex Tizon’s piece, we were at the beginning of the Trump presidency, and Trump was seemingly the only thing on everyone’s minds. I had no idea that a tragic, very personal story by an esteemed but not particularly well-known writer would connect in such a dramatic way. But we learned that the marketplace still rewards quality.”
The other four articles in the top 50 are: “How to Build An Autocracy” by David Frum; “When Your Child is a Psychopath” by Barbara Bradley Hagerty; “I Was a Muslim in Trump’s White House” by Rumana Ahmed; and “The First White President” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. “A Clarifying Moment in History,” by Eliot A. Cohen, is ranked in the top 60.
The new data caps off a year of significant audience growth for The Atlantic. Monthly unique visits to TheAtlantic.com grew nearly 30% year over year, with the month of May setting a new monthly record of 42.3 million unique visitors (Omniture). The Atlantic also reached its highest print circulation in a decade, with more than 570,000 subscriptions.
The Atlantic has had the most-read story on the internet in two of the last three years: it also held the title for the March 2015 cover story “What ISIS Really Wants” by Graeme Wood.
Anna Bross, The Atlantic