Washington, D.C. (March 22, 2018)—The Atlantic has named the first four contributors to its forthcoming section for ideas, opinion, and commentary at TheAtlantic.com, announcing new roles for The Atlantic’s Annie Lowrey and Alex Wagner, and the hires of Ibram X. Kendi and Kevin D. Williamson. Politics editor Yoni Appelbaum will lead the section as its first editor.
“These are all writers whose force of intellect and acuity of insight reflect our ambition for the new section,” said The Atlantic’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg. “And, as you’ll see, they also embody the dual nature of this project—doubling down on something The Atlantic has always done superbly well, while also continuing to expand the range of voices we’re able to deliver to our readers.”
The Atlantic has championed the force of ideas since its founding in 1857; this new section will create a destination for sharp analysis, opinion, and writing. The ideas section will gather together a diverse range of voices from around the globe, featuring contributions from those whose experiences and expertise can offer new perspectives. Their work will help readers understand the key issues of the day, introduce novel evidence and reporting to the debate, and shape the public conversation. The creation of an ideas section is a central part of The Atlantic’s current expansion, which is in the process of adding as many as 100 new staff and investments across its divisions and platforms.
Appelbaum will lead the section along with Goldberg and editor of TheAtlantic.com Adrienne LaFrance. Appelbaum has guided The Atlantic’s urgent and sophisticated coverage of the first year of the Trump presidency, and in 2016 oversaw election coverage and a tripling in size of its Politics & Policy reporting team.
The first new ideas columnist is Ibram X. Kendi, a professor of history and international relations and the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. From a stint as a reporter at The Virginian Pilot, Kendi headed back to graduate school, and emerged as one of America’s most innovative scholars of race. His second book—Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America—made him the youngest-ever winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction.
In the past year covering economic policy for The Atlantic, Annie Lowrey has written about the inequality beneath the sexual harassment headlines, the country’s “deserving poor,” and the rise and fall and rise of late capitalism. She has previously written for The New York Times, New York magazine, and Slate, and is the author of Give People Money, a book on the universal basic income movement, to be published by Crown in July. Lowrey will now be a weekly columnist focusing on, among other topics, economics and the impact of government policy on people.
Alex Wagner will continue to blend her political reporting and analysis to offer unique perspectives for Atlantic audiences. Wagner hosts the Radio Atlantic podcast, is a correspondent for CBS, and co-host of The Circus on Showtime. She is also the author of Futureface, an exploration into American identity, which will be released by One World/Random House on April 17. Before joining The Atlantic in 2016, Wagner was the host of the Emmy-nominated NOW with Alex Wagner on MSNBC, a reporter for HuffPost, the White House correspondent for Politics Daily, and the editor in chief of The Fader magazine.
Also new to The Atlantic is Kevin D. Williamson, who joins the masthead after a decade at National Review and several years as a theater critic for The New Criterion. At National Review, he wrote on many of the most contentious and urgent topics in America—from the opioid crisis to poverty and pornography. His writing on American politics and on the rise and meaning of Donald Trump gained him an international following. Earlier in his career, he worked for the Indian Express newspaper group, and for newspapers in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. He is the author of The End Is Near and It’s Going To Be Awesome. Williamson will bring his prolific writing to both TheAtlantic.com’s ideas section and to the magazine.
In late February, The Atlantic announced plans for a large-scale expansion over the coming year. This week The Atlantic launched its Family section, the first cross-platform editorial initiative of its expansion. Additional areas of editorial focus include augmented coverage of Hollywood and culture, and of technology and Silicon Valley, and a significant infusion to politics and policy reporting staff in Washington. Other dedicated coverage areas at TheAtlantic.com include global, business, education, health, and science. The Atlantic is also doubling both its product and data and analytics teams, and will experiment with innovative consumer revenue models, among other initiatives.