When we started The American Prospect with Robert Reich in 1990, our aim was to foster a “plausible and persuasive liberalism” by bringing together journalists and scholars into a public conversation about the future of American society and politics. In nearly 25 years, the Prospect has undergone numerous changes both in print and online, but as we return to a more direct role than we have had in recent years, the Prospect’s mission remains the same—cultivating the ideas and the reporting needed to help build a democratic politics and a decent society.
We are committed to keeping the Prospect as a strong and vital voice, both as a magazine (in both print and digital forms) and as a website. The magazine will continue its blend of analytical essays and deeply reported articles on politics, economics, and culture. The website will continue with fresh material to be updated daily. We will maintain our writing fellows program, which has helped to launch the careers of many of the best young progressive journalists in the country.
But the Prospect also has to adjust to some hard economic realities. For the time being, we are working with a budget that has been cut significantly to assure the magazine’s survival. As a result, we are reducing the number of issues per year from six to four, cutting some staff positions, and making other economies. Despite these changes, we will produce a first-rate magazine, just as we did in its early, lean years. Financial retrenchment need not mean retrenchment of mission or quality. We hope that during this hunker-down period, we can also build the Prospect back up partly through the generosity of the broad circle of people who have supported it in the past.
News of the pending changes at the Prospect leaked out in the past couple of weeks before the magazine’s board made a final decision about its direction. As a result, we were unable to respond earlier to two false impressions created by initial rumors.
First, we continue to embrace narrative journalism and political reporting. The term “journal of ideas,” which we used in an internal memo, was meant only to suggest that we are going to publish more pieces by notable writers based in universities and other institutions. The distinctive character of the Prospect, in our view, comes from the combined contributions by journalists with a deep knowledge of their subject and by social scientists, historians, and other scholars who are able to write for a non-specialist public.
Second, we continue to invest in our website. Digital publication is crucial to the future of the Prospect. But new digital publications—some of them created by our own alumni—have changed the landscape of liberal media. We take pride in having helped give birth to our competition! And we recognize that we need to reestablish our distinctive place amid the many alternatives available to our readers.
Stay with us.