Prospective journalism redux: The new life of political magazines in the digital age Articles uri icon

publication date

  • September 2016

start page

  • 357

end page

  • 375


  • 3


  • 12

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1740-8296

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2040-0918


  • Political magazines offer a vantage point for evaluating the present and future of in-depth journalism in the digital age. The death spiral of newsweeklies overshadows the increasing influence of political magazines in the national and global debates. Publications like The Atlantic or The Nation keep on advancing policy solutions and inoculating debates on other more mainstream media as they have done for more than a hundred years, but they are also being reshaped by the new digital environment: their online readers are more numerous but less loyal than their print subscribers, and their publics have become more international, with one-third of their audiences coming from outside their home country. This article reports on the views of journalists and editors from American political magazines regarding three issues: the role of their publications in the public sphere (inter-media agenda setting, prospective policy solutions), the differences between their print and digital versions (in terms of audience and content), and their economic sustainability (reflecting on the ethical conundrums of native advertising and sponsored events). Cases studied include The Atlantic, The Economist, The Nation, Bloomberg Businessweek and The New Republic.


  • political magazines; in-depth journalism; digital journalism; journalism economics; american journalism; political communication