The Wire, Atlantic Media’s breaking news aggregation site, is shutting down, co-presidents James Bennet and Bob Cohn announced this afternoon. The site, and the site’s staff, will be folded into the magazine’s main site, TheAtlantic.com.
“In a couple of weeks, we will bring the staff of The Wire back into The Atlantic’s fold,” Mssrs. Bennet and Cohn wrote in a newsroom memo first obtained by Gawker. “This decision is also driven by a recognition that the business strategy behind separating The Wire from The Atlantic simply hasn’t proven out.”
The Wire, which was known as The Atlantic Wire until it was rebranded as a stand-alone site last November, launched in 2009. Former Gawker editor in chief Gabriel Snyder was hired in 2011 to run the site, which he did until he left at the beginning of the year. In June, news editor Dashiell Bennett was named The Wire’s editor in chief. Most of the current staff, including Mr. Bennett, will run TheAtlantic.com’s news coverage.
Despite the integration of the site, The Wire will hold on to its homepage, if not its separate brand identity.
Full memo below:
Note to Atlantic StaffFrom James Bennet and Bob Cohn, Presidents, The Atlantic
September 22, 2014
Important news on the digital front: In a couple of weeks, we will bring the staff of The Wire back into The Atlantic’s fold. We are very proud of what The Wire has accomplished editorially, and we think that joining its aggressive, deft news coverage with The Atlantic’s ideas-driven journalism will provide a richer experience for The Atlantic’s readers, a firmer foundation for our ambitions to cover the news, and greater opportunities for growth for The Wire’s team. This decision is also driven by a recognition that the business strategy behind separating The Wire from The Atlantic simply hasn’t proven out. Experimenting with new revenue streams to support our journalism – like experimenting with new forms of reporting, storytelling, and distribution — has been essential to our progress across the ever-shifting media landscape; so too has moving quickly to face the facts, and to adjust, when an experiment isn’t working as we’d hoped.
The Wire has repeatedly distinguished itself over the last five years with its coverage of breaking news, most recently, under Dashiell Bennett, with its work on the upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri and the MH17 airline disaster in Ukraine. We’ll continue to foster that dedication to fast, intelligent coverage as we integrate The Wire team into The Atlantic. Loyal Wire readers will be glad to know that we’ll continue to serve them by retaining The Wire’s homepage, to curate news coverage from The Atlantic and other sources. We also intend to supercharge The Wire’s social feeds as trustworthy news resources. The benefit to Atlantic readers is clear: enhanced news coverage across all our areas of focus. We plan to build a new module into The Atlantic’s homepage to feature our freshest news headlines, and we will also circulate many of our news stories in the carousel, in addition to featuring them in the relevant channels.
The current Wire team will remain in New York while acquiring some new titles and reporting relationships as staff of TheAtlantic.com. Dash, working with Emily Epstein, will oversee The Atlantic’s news team, which will include Russell Berman, Arit John, Adam Chandler, Polly Mosendz, and other players to be named later. The Entertainment team of Joe Reid and David Sims will now report to Spencer Kornhaber. The Wire’s social media editor, Jake Swearingen, will report to Alexis Madrigal, who as you know is leading our overall social media strategy.
At news of the coming transition, John Gould’s slumbering McKinsey reflexes have been roused. You’ll be hearing shortly of his plans for cultural integration as we work to meld the two sites’ sensibilities and their respective commitments to big ideas and to breaking news. We are looking forward to the result of this combination of forces, the next, very powerful version of TheAtlantic.com.
James and Bob