James Bennet Promoted to The Atlantic Editor-in-Chief

By Steve Cohn

Yesterday (May 7), The Atlantic editor (since March 2006) James Bennet (pictured) set what is believed to be a 155-year precedent when Atlantic Media Co. president (since Sept. 2007) Justin Smith promoted him to editor-in-chief.  "[This] is the first time to our knowledge this title has been used for our top editor," said Smith. "James could not be more deserving of this honor. At a time many legacy journalism brands have struggled to find their way, he has guided The Atlantic through innovative, high-impact journalism–on the Web, in print, and in our live events–to reach its largest audiences in its history (by some magnitude), setting the stage for The Atlantic‘s commercial renaissance in 2010 that continues unabated today. James has also embodied more than almost anyone in the firm our commitment to integrity and a generous and collaborative spirit. The positive, open tone he sets from the top has been a central ingredient of our success, especially in the digital realm where collaboration and continuous reinvention are so necessary."

Concurrently, Smith elevated The Atlantic editorial director Bob Cohn to Atlantic Digital editor and The Atlantic executive editor Scott Stossel to The Atlantic magazine editor. Cohn’s credits include spearheading the growth of TheAtlantic.com from 2.5 million unique visitors at his Jan. 2009 start to the present 10 million-plus as well as the successful Sept. 2011 launch of TheAtlanticCities.com. 

Cohn was inducted into min‘s Digital Hall of Fame during our April 3 Best of the Web Awards.

Stossel, says Smith, "has edited many of our most provocative writers and most influential stories across an astonishing range of subjects, including, in just one remarkable stretch last year: Lori Gottlieb on parenting (July/August); Taylor Branch on college sports (October); Kate Bolick on the impact on marriage of women’s changing roles; and Jeff Goldberg and Marc Ambinder on our ‘ally from hell,’ Pakistan."