The Atlantic Promotes Three Top Editors

The Atlantic Media Company has promoted three of its top editors. James Bennet has been named Editor-in-Chief of The Atlantic, Scott Stossel has been tapped as Editor, Atlantic Magazine, and Bob Cohn has jumped to Editor, Atlantic Digital.

Bennet has been with the Atlantic since 2006, most recently as Editor of The Atlantic. Stossel started in 1992, left in 1996, and rejoined earlier this year. He was most recently Deputy Editor of The Atlantic. Cohn has been with the company since 2009, most recently Editorial Director of Atlantic Digital.

Justin Smith, President of The Atlantic Media Company, said the promotions were meant “to better position us for continued growth.” See the full memo after the jump.

Good Morning,

I have the great pleasure of writing you today with a series of announcements regarding The Atlantic’s editorial leadership. These changes are meant to recognize the key leadership roles these editors play at The Atlantic and within the company, and to better position us for continued growth.

James Bennet has been promoted to Editor-in-Chief of The Atlantic, the first time to our knowledge this title has been used for our top Editor. 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.

James, of course, has not been alone in this effort. At his side, he has two magnificent talents in Bob Cohn and Scott Stossel. In recognition of their efforts, Scott is being promoted to Editor, Atlantic Magazine, and Bob to Editor, Atlantic Digital.

Bob and Scott embody The Atlantic’s commitment to excellence, collaboration, and brave thinking–both in the provocative stories they want to tell and the innovative ways they seek out to tell them. Both are inventive and aggressive in seizing every new means available to carry out The Atlantic’s historic mission of advancing big ideas and entertaining our readers, as we conduct the running conversation we’ve been having with them for more than 150 years now. It would be hard to overstate the degree to which our brilliant and imaginative staff love to work with Scott and Bob. They are deeply respected and admired–and simply liked–for their intelligence, generosity, hard work, and sense of humor. Both are key members of the strategy team setting the overall direction for The Atlantic.

After joining us in January ’09 from Wired, where he was executive editor, Bob has led the endless reinvention of The Atlantic’s digital presence. He has overseen the creation of our eight channels and built a team of original and innovative writers and editors. All of this has resulted in explosive growth, from 2.5 million unique visitors the month he arrived to more than 10 million in January, to just At the same time, Bob has supervised the maturation of the Atlantic Wire as an up-to-the-minute news site and the creation and execution of our new Cities site; those sister sites together achieved an audience of more than 4 million in January.

Scott started at the magazine twenty years ago as an intern, and has played many roles here, including as one of the first editors of our Web site. He went to the American Prospect for a few years before returning to The Atlantic in 2002. As managing editor, he led the magazine through the difficult transition from Boston to Washington, and he has been key to shaping every issue since then. He 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.