Atlantic Media Halts Work on Business Website

HaltAtlantic Media's plan to start a business-news website has encountered another setback. The launch has been postponed indefinitely, and the editor heading up the project is leaving the company.

"Yes, it's on hold for now but we are still committed to doing it, possibly pushing it to next year," Justin Smith, the president of Atlantic Media, tells me via email. "The honest reason is that a lot of management bandwidth (me, David Bradley) has been eaten up by the upcoming relaunch of our National Journal brand, so we've put it on the backburner for now." (National Journal is reorganizing its editorial operations and putting more of its online content outside the pay wall, reportedly in a bid to compete more effectively against Politico.)

Development of the business-news site got underway last October with the hire of Michael Kinsley, founder of Slate and former editor of the New Republic, as its top editor. But that situation didn't last long: By January, Kinsley had opted to move on, telling me, "I sort of looked into my soul...and decided I didn't really want to do that." Smith notes that Kinsley is still very much a part of the Atlantic, and is now writing a daily column for its opinion site, the Atlantic Wire, which has been drawing 700,000 unique visitors a month.

Although the plan was initially to replace Kinsley, that never happened, leaving his No. 2, Adam Pasick, who came to Atlantic Media from Reuters, to head it up. But with the project on ice, Pasick is leaving: He recently accepted a job as managing editor of New York magazine's website.
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