The Atlantic Vs The New Yorker: A Detailed Comparison

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Atlantic and The New Yorker are two of the most prestigious magazines in America, known for their longform journalism and cultural commentary. The Atlantic skews more towards reporting on politics and current affairs, while The New Yorker focuses more on profiles, fiction, and humor.

In this comprehensive 1500 word article, we will do a deep dive comparing these two iconic publications across history, content style, ideologies, business models, and more. You’ll get the full picture on how The Atlantic and The New Yorker stack up.

Historical Backgrounds

When each magazine was founded

The Atlantic and The New Yorker are two iconic magazines that have been shaping the literary and journalistic landscape for decades. The Atlantic was founded in 1857 by a group of prominent intellectuals, while The New Yorker was established in 1925 by Harold Ross.

Both magazines have a long and rich history, with The Atlantic being one of the oldest continuously published magazines in the United States and The New Yorker gaining a reputation for its cutting-edge and sophisticated content.

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Original aims and visions of the magazines

The Atlantic was initially created as a platform for discussing and promoting the abolition of slavery. Its founders aimed to provide a space for progressive thinkers to exchange ideas and engage in intellectual discourse.

On the other hand, The New Yorker was conceived as a humor magazine, with a focus on satirical cartoons, short stories, and witty commentary on cultural and social issues. Over time, both magazines expanded their scope and began covering a wide range of topics, including politics, literature, science, and arts.

How the magazines have evolved over time

Throughout their histories, The Atlantic and The New Yorker have undergone significant transformations to adapt to the changing media landscape. The Atlantic, for example, has evolved from primarily focusing on political and cultural commentary to incorporating more investigative journalism and in-depth reporting.

The magazine has also embraced digital platforms, reaching a wider audience and expanding its influence in the digital age.

The New Yorker, on the other hand, has maintained its reputation as a bastion of literary excellence and cultural commentary. While humor and satire remain an integral part of the magazine, it has also become known for publishing long-form journalism, in-depth profiles, and thought-provoking essays.

The New Yorker has successfully transitioned to the digital era, attracting a dedicated online following while still maintaining its print publication.

Today, both The Atlantic and The New Yorker continue to push boundaries and set the standard for high-quality journalism and thought-provoking content. They have become trusted sources for readers seeking in-depth analysis, thought-provoking essays, and engaging storytelling.

Content Style and Focus

When comparing The Atlantic and The New Yorker, it is important to consider their distinct content styles and focuses. Both publications are renowned for their high-quality journalism, but they differ in their approach to reporting, the types of stories they cover, their prominent sections, and their approach to culture and arts.

Differences in reporting styles

The Atlantic and The New Yorker have different reporting styles that set them apart. The Atlantic is known for its in-depth investigative journalism and long-form articles that delve into complex issues.

Their writers often provide extensive research and analysis, presenting multiple perspectives on a topic. On the other hand, The New Yorker is known for its narrative-driven reporting, combining storytelling with journalism to create captivating narratives.

Their articles often feature personal anecdotes and interviews, providing a unique and engaging perspective.

Types of stories covered

Both The Atlantic and The New Yorker cover a wide range of topics, but they have different areas of focus. The Atlantic covers a diverse array of subjects, including politics, science, technology, and culture.

They are particularly known for their thought-provoking opinion pieces and in-depth analysis of current events. The New Yorker, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on culture, arts, and literature.

They are renowned for their coverage of the arts, including literature, film, music, and theater, as well as their in-depth profiles of artists and cultural figures.

Prominent section differences

The Atlantic and The New Yorker have prominent sections that distinguish them from each other. The Atlantic’s flagship section is “Politics,” where they provide comprehensive coverage of political news and analysis. They also have sections dedicated to business, technology, culture, and science.

The New Yorker, on the other hand, has a prominent section called “The Talk of the Town” which features short pieces on current events, culture, and society. They also have sections dedicated to fiction, poetry, and humor, which are distinctive features of the publication.

Approach to culture and arts

When it comes to culture and arts, The Atlantic and The New Yorker take different approaches. The Atlantic often explores the intersection of culture, politics, and society, providing critical analysis and commentary on current trends.

They are known for their thought-provoking essays on literature, film, and music. The New Yorker, on the other hand, celebrates the arts by showcasing profiles of artists, in-depth reviews of exhibitions and performances, and publishing fiction and poetry by established and emerging writers.

They have a strong focus on the creative aspects of culture and arts.

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Ideologies and Biases

Political leanings

The Atlantic and The New Yorker are two influential magazines that have gained a reputation for their distinct political leanings. While The Atlantic is often seen as center-left with a focus on policy and intellectual analysis, The New Yorker leans more towards the left, with a strong emphasis on cultural commentary and liberal perspectives.

These ideological differences can be seen in the topics they cover, the writers they feature, and the overall tone of their articles.

Differing worldviews and values

One key aspect that sets The Atlantic and The New Yorker apart is their differing worldviews and values. The Atlantic tends to prioritize pragmatism and evidence-based arguments, often taking a more nuanced approach to complex issues.

On the other hand, The New Yorker tends to be more idealistic and focuses on social justice and progressive values. This contrast in worldviews is reflected in the articles they publish, with The Atlantic offering a more analytical perspective and The New Yorker providing a platform for passionate storytelling and advocacy.

Controversies related to ideology

Both The Atlantic and The New Yorker have faced controversies related to their ideological stances. The Atlantic has been criticized by some conservatives for what they perceive as a liberal bias in their coverage.

On the other hand, The New Yorker has faced accusations of being too partisan and lacking objectivity in their reporting. It is important to note that these controversies are largely driven by the perception of the readers and may not necessarily reflect the true intentions or editorial policies of the magazines.

It is worth mentioning that the perception of bias in media outlets is subjective and can vary from person to person. It is always advisable to consume news and analysis from multiple sources to get a more balanced understanding of complex issues.

Both The Atlantic and The New Yorker provide valuable insights and perspectives, and readers can benefit from engaging with a diverse range of viewpoints.

Business Models

Ownership structures

The Atlantic and The New Yorker have different ownership structures that shape their editorial and business decisions. The Atlantic is owned by Emerson Collective, a social impact organization founded by Laurene Powell Jobs.

This ownership allows The Atlantic to focus on long-form journalism and provide a platform for in-depth reporting on a wide range of topics.

On the other hand, The New Yorker is owned by Condé Nast, a global media company that owns various publications. This ownership structure provides The New Yorker with access to a broader network of resources, allowing them to produce high-quality content and maintain their reputation as a leading literary magazine.

Revenue sources

The revenue sources for both The Atlantic and The New Yorker are diverse and include advertising, subscriptions, and partnerships. However, there are some differences in how they generate income. The Atlantic relies heavily on digital advertising revenue, while also offering a subscription-based model for readers who want access to exclusive content and features.

On the other hand, The New Yorker generates revenue through a combination of print and digital advertising, as well as subscriptions. In recent years, The New Yorker has also expanded its revenue streams by hosting live events and partnering with other brands to create branded content.

Circulation and readership demographics

The circulation and readership demographics of The Atlantic and The New Yorker differ in terms of reach and target audience. The Atlantic has a larger circulation, reaching millions of readers both online and in print.

It has a broad readership base that includes professionals, intellectuals, and policymakers.

The New Yorker, on the other hand, has a more niche readership consisting of literary enthusiasts, intellectuals, and cultural critics. While The New Yorker might have a smaller circulation compared to The Atlantic, it has a dedicated following of readers who appreciate its distinctive blend of long-form journalism, essays, fiction, and poetry.


In summary, while The Atlantic and The New Yorker have some overlaps, they have distinct histories, voices, focuses and business models. The Atlantic tilts more towards reporting and analysis on current affairs, while The New Yorker excels at longform narratives and cultural commentary.

By understanding their key differences, readers can better decide which publication suits their interests and values. Both continue to produce some of the finest journalism and storytelling today across politics, society, arts and more.

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