Nicholas Thompson: The Atlantic CEO, How To Find Objectivity In Journalism

Aug 30, 2023

New Thinking In Reality podcast

Series streaming on:

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Your host:

Eric Schurenberg

Award-winning journalist and former CEO of Inc. and Fast Company

In this episode we discuss:

Away from the podcast mic, as all my friends know, I’m a private pilot. Last week I mentioned In Reality to my flight instructor and his reply was, well, kind of emblematic of the problem In Reality addresses. Media is so corrupt, he said, why are you wasting your time? Now, my instructor is a nice guy and I’m sure he did not mean to insult me. In some circles, it seems that hating professional media is just a reflex, like saying “Bless you,” when someone sneezes. Nothing personal.

One way to rebut to this kind of sweeping, unreflective dismissal is to introduce a counterexample. And one of the best I can think of is today’s guest, Nick Thompson, the CEO of the media company, the Atlantic.  Nick has one of the most remarkable and distinguished careers of any journalist. Before the Atlantic, he was the editor-in-chief of Wired, a writer and editor at the New Yorker, and co-founder of the Atavist, an early digital magazine that told long-form stories in graphic formats. Publications under his leadership have won numerous National Magazine Awards and Pulitzer Prizes, and one Wired story that he edited was the basis for the movie Argo, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2012. Nick is now co-founder of a SaaS company, Speakeasy AI, formerly Narwhal, a software platform designed to foster constructive online conversations about the world’s most pressing problems.

Nick and I talk about truth and objectivity as a journalistic goal, about the divide in world view between journalists and some audiences, about how the Atlantic does its best to make sure its stories are fair, about how Nick curates his own news feed and his own writing to minimize bias.

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