Sources tell BuzzFeed that American Prospect senior writer Monica Potts and editor Bob Moser were laid off last Friday and that staff writers Gabriel Arana, Abby Rapoport, and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux will also leave the publication, which will leave the already-small magazine with an even tinier editorial staff.
The exodus follows last Wednesday’s announcement that the Prospect’s board would be considering a shift to publishing a quarterly “journal of ideas” instead of running as a bimonthly journal. The announcement came after Editor-in-Chief Kit Rachlis left the liberal D.C.–based publication this month.
In recent years, the magazine has turned out an impressive list of digital-first journalists including Vox cofounders Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias, MSNBC’s Adam Serwer, New York Magazine columnist Ann Friedman, Yahoo editor Garance Franke-Ruta, TPM associate editor Kay Steiger, and Slate writer Jamelle Bouie. (And a number of BuzzFeed staffers.)
“It doesn’t make any sense for them to be not doing digital; it’s the thing that they’re really good at,” said a source familiar with the inner workings of The Prospect. The changes in staff and focus would essentially end the publication’s digital efforts.
Another source added that Prospect co-founder Paul Starr had been “openly antagonistic” toward the magazine’s more journalistic focus since 2001, as well as the publication’s efforts under Rachlis. The new Prospect, observers say, will return to its roots as an academic publication.
“The ownership is saying they are preserving the publication, but it isn’t really true in any sense of the word. It will cease to be a journalistic venture,” said a source who asked not to be named. The proposed budget has no funds designated for any staff writers, said another person familiar with the organization.
On Wednesday, The American Prospect’s publisher Jay Harris, said in a statement that co-founders Bob Kuttner and Starr will direct the magazine, beginning with the fall issue if the board approves the planned changes. Capital New York reported that it was “highly likely” the Prospect’s board would approve the change.