The Atlantic is staffing up as it prepares to introduce a new section to its site, called "Ideas."
The Atlantic named the first four contributors to "Ideas," which will focus on analysis, opinion and commentary.
Annie Lowrey, who covers economic policy for The Atlantic, will now be a weekly columnist focusing economics and the impact of government policy on people for "Ideas."
Alex Wagner will write for "Ideas" as well, while continuing to cover political reporting and analysis for the new section. Wagner hosts the “Radio Atlantic” podcast, is a correspondent for CBS and cohost of “The Circus” on Showtime.
The Atlantic has also hired Ibram X. Kendi and Kevin D. Williamson to join the team.
Kendi is a professor of history and international relations and the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. Williamson, who will also contribute to The Atlantic magazine, has spent a decade at National Review covering American politics and has made headlines for his controversial and right-wing views.
In 2014, Williamson tweeted “the law should treat abortion like any other homicide” and suggested women be hung as punishment. Although Williamson has since deleted his Twitter account, the tweets were archived and shared by multiple media outlets. He has also expressed numerous anti-LGBTQ sentiments.
Hiring Williamson signals The Atlantic is trying to strive for “diversity” in its opinion section.
Other publications have attempted to reach out to the right to achieve a balance of opinion, but not without backlash.
Last spring,The New York Times added conservative op-ed columnist Bret Stephens, a cynic of climate-change science. His hire spurred some readers to cancel their subscriptions.
And last month, The Times fired the editorial board’s lead opinion writer on technology, Quinn Norton, the same day it announced her hiring, after the Twitterverse uncovered past tweets in which she used offensive slurs and referred to her friendships with neo-Nazis.
In Williamson’s last post on the National Review announcing his move to The Atlantic, he called himself “an apostle to the Gentiles. Even though The Atlantic was founded by a bunch of sometime Republicans … it isn't exactly what you'd call conservative,” he wrote. “I am very much looking forward to raising a brand new kind of hell.”
The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, stated the Ideas writers’ “force of intellect and acuity of insight reflect our ambition for the new section.”
He continued: “And, as you’ll see, they also embody the dual nature of this project—doubling down on something The Atlantic has always done superbly well, while also continuing to expand the range of voices we’re able to deliver to our readers.”
Politics editor Yoni Appelbaum will lead the "Ideas" section.
Last week, The Atlantic launched a section to cover families in America. It was the first expanded editorial initiative to launch since the publication announced in February that it will expand its newsroom significantly this year, with plans to hire as many as 100 new staffers.