Politics Editor Vernon Loeb Out at The Atlantic, the Latest in a Long String of High-Profile Exits
The iconic magazine is flush with cash and new hirings, but many of its most prominent writers have departed in recent months.
One of The Atlantic’s top editors left the magazine last week—the latest in a recent string of high-profile departures from the hundred-year-old-publication.
Politics editor Vernon Loeb left The Atlantic on Friday, less than a year after he was hired to oversee the magazine’s politics section. Loeb confirmed his departure in a statement to The Daily Beast.
"I enjoyed my time at The Atlantic. I felt really privileged to work there,” he said in an email. “I left to follow a passion of mine and have taken a job as senior editor for investigations, enterprise and innovations at Inside Climate News, the Brooklyn-based non-profit that won the Pulitzer several years back for national reporting."
Loeb was brought on last summer as part of a wave of new hires at the multi-platform outlet. The hiring spree was fueled by a recent influx in funding from businesswoman and philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, whose investment company Emerson Collective purchased a majority stake in the publication in 2017. The Atlantic said last year that it planned to hire 100 new staffers, with more than half of those new hires going into the editorial department.
But, despite the influx of cash, the publication may be experiencing some growing pains. While the outlet continues to hire—at a time where many media outlets have experienced dramatic cutbacks—several of the company’s most high-profile staffers have made their way out the door.
A number of prominent female reporters have left the publication: National-security reporter Natasha Bertrand exited for a gig at Politico; expert Russia reporter Julia Ioffe joined GQ; and White House correspondent Rosie Gray returned to BuzzFeed News earlier this year. TIME magazine also poached two of The Atlantic’s staff writers in the past 18 months.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, an iconic essayist on race and culture in America, left the magazine last year without taking a position elsewhere. His exit was a huge editorial blow for the magazine, but also set off some conflict inside the Washington, D.C. newsroom.
Coates left The Atlantic just two months after a transcript was leaked to HuffPost showing him and editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg discussing at an all-staff meeting the firing of conservative columnist Kevin Williamson. Sources told The Daily Beast that the article sparked an informal leak hunt by senior managers, a move which irritated some staff.
Anna Bross, a senior communications director for The Atlantic, said none of the recent departures were connected or reflected negatively on the organization.
"It is our policy not to comment on the particulars of individual personnel matters. Each of the examples you raised represents a small handful of departures over an 18 month period, in a newsroom of 150," Bross said. "The people you've mentioned left for highly individual reasons, and to draw any larger conclusions is irresponsible and frankly ridiculous."
Loeb’s hiring was announced last June in an interview with the Washington Post, in which he specifically cited the appeal of the The Atlantic’s vast financial resources.
“I have … spent decades at this point working for shrinking newspapers and to suddenly go work for a news organization that’s aggressively and ambitiously expanding was almost mind-bending for me,” Loeb told Post media critic Erik Wemple at the time.