How David Bradley and Justin Smith Saved 'The Atlantic'

A sinking magazine comes back from the brink (or why all print media stories don’t have to end badly)

Four years ago, David Bradley, the chairman and sole owner of the Atlantic Media Company, came up to New York from Washington, D.C., to have dinner at The Carlyle with Justin Smith, who was then president and publisher of The Week. Bradley was desperate. For eight years, he’d been trying to staunch the flow of red ink at what was then called the The Atlantic Monthly, only to see the losses increase (one year, to more than $10 million). He admired Smith’s work at The Week, a news digest that publisher Felix Dennis had imported from the U.K. in 2001, and wanted to hire him to, hopefully, turn around the magazine.