Separations between the digital and print staffs in both business and editorial operations came down. The Web site’s paywall was dismantled. A cadre of young writers began filling the newsroom’s cubicles. Advertising salespeople were told it did not matter what percentage of their sales were digital and what percentage print; they just needed to hit one sales target. A robust business around Atlantic-branded conferences took off.
The strategy is not a cure-all template for troubled media companies, of course. The Atlantic, a tiny enterprise compared with vast corporate magazine empires like Time Inc. and Condé Nast, has only about 100 business and editorial employees and a circulation of 470,000. A scale that small means that a few million dollars could push the company over the top — an amount that would barely register on the balance sheets of many other publishers.
The other lesson here is that smaller is better. I’m sure everyone at The Atlantic still gets paid, has benefits, etc. But with their smaller size, they’re much more nimble and much more able to experiment.
As always, please click through and read the entire story.