Maybe It’s Time For A Slow News Movement

by | Jan 19, 2006

The Atlantic is 150, and alive to tell about it.


According to the magazine, “fifteen decades is a long time; only a handful of publications anywhere have exceeded that benchmark. A great deal has occurred since a small group of writers and editors met in the dining room of a Boston hotel to plan the first issue of what would become The Atlantic Monthly. The economy of the United States at the time was smaller than Britain’s, and its armed forces lesser than those of France. Germany and Italy didn’t exist, and Das Kapital and The Origin of Species hadn’t been written. American territory already stretched from coast to coast, but there were only thirty-one states in the Union. The vote was restricted to men, and a system of public education was a thing of the future. The most salient fact about this country was that slavery remained legal in the United States. The Atlantic’s founders were leaders of the abolitionist cause.

But if some things about The Atlantic Monthly have changed in 150 years, the most important things have not. First, the founders of the magazine understood that breaking news was not always worth paying attention to, and in fact could distract the public from important stories that needed to be told–and that took more time to tell.”