Watch out, Atlantic — the New Yorker is gunning for you

We’ve argued before, The Atlantic is one of the traditional media players that is most worth paying attention to when it comes to the ongoing disruptive effects of the web — the venerable magazine has managed to turn itself around financially because of smart moves on the digital side, although those haven’t come without some mis-steps. Now Conde Nast’s New Yorker seems to be headed in the same direction, according to comments made by online editor Nick Thompson to Ad Week, including an expansion of its online presence driven in part by a former BuzzFeed staffer.
Thompson said he wants to “dramatically expand” the number of blog posts that the site carries with the upcoming launch of a Science and Tech section, which will feature contributions from magazine regulars like Columbia law professor Tim Wu and author Ken Auletta as well as new writers. One of those new writers is former BuzzFeed staffer Matt Buchanan, who announced his move to the magazine on Wednesday:
Until now, The Atlantic has been the poster child for the brainy traditional magazine that has succeeded at the new digital-media game. Owner David Bradley and president Justin Smith gambled heavily on an online strategy — one that included hiring strong writers like Alexis Madrigal and Ta-Nehisi Coates, among others, and online-first properties like Atlantic Cities.
These and other moves have driven large amounts of traffic, and also boosted digital revenues to the point where they now exceed print (Note: We’re going to be talking with Justin Smith about these and other topics at our paidContent Live media conference in New York on April 17).
The magazine has also put a substantial amount of resources into the new arena of “sponsored content” as a replacement for traditional advertising, although that has not come without controversy: a recent sponsored feature on the Church of Scientology drew a substantial amount of criticism, and the magazine said it has re-evaluated the way it handles such content as a result.
The Atlantic‘s moves have made others such as Time Inc. (which is facing some major cutbacks) look like they are stuck in neutral. Only Forbes has arguably equalled the Atlantic‘s progress, with initiatives like its “Brand Voice” platform (chief product officer Lewis D’Vorkin will also be joining us at paidContent Live). Now it seems that both could be facing some competition from the New Yorker, which is encouraging to see.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Rebecca Chatfield