Vernon Loeb is a newspaper guy whose career has proceeded in loops. He worked for 17 years at the Philadelphia Inquirer, only to leave for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Then he returned to the Inquirer, followed by a second tour at The Post, from which he departed four years ago to serve as managing editor for the Houston Chronicle.
Two constants have followed him along the path: memorable stories and vanishing 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,” says Loeb.
That news organization is the Atlantic, which has announced that the 62-year-old Loeb will take over in July as politics editor. A memo to staff from the Atlantic’s editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg and TheAtlantic.com editor Adrienne LaFrance read, “Vernon is a true writer’s editor who prizes the power of relentless reporting and beautiful writing in equal measure.”
The addition of Loeb follows the announcement in February that the Atlantic was shopping for new talent — 100 people, with about half being added to its newsroom. The incoming personnel marked a pleasant counter to trends in the magazine sector. Whether in frequency, staff levels or some other measure, many titles including Vanity Fair, Glamour, Teen Vogue and Bon Appétit have retrenched of late.
The unit under Loeb’s direction will claim a nice chunk of the Atlantic’s fresh injection of reporters and editors. According to an Atlantic spokeswoman, the politics team will roughly double in size; according to a company release, it includes reporters such as Russell Berman, Natasha Bertrand, McKay Coppins, David A. Graham, Emma Green, Rosie Gray, Vann R. Newkirk II and Elaina Plott. The Atlantic currently has an editorial staffing level of around 115, which includes TheAtlantic.com, magazine staff, a video group (Atlantic Studios) and a podcast arm.
For the sake of comparison, that’s not in the same numerical realm as the New York Times (1,450 newsroom staffers, including opinionators), The Post (about 800 newsroom staffers) or CNN (almost 4,000 “news professionals”). Meaning that Loeb…