Friday, April 04, 2003
Atlantic: Michael Kelly became editor of the Atlantic Monthly a couple of years ago. I've read the Atlantic for some time, and if ever there was a grand old monthly that had become a shell, that was Atlantic. After Kelly took hold of it, it became a strong voice again, with important, serious articles and great wit. Kelly knew how to staff, too. He set Chris Hitchens to work doing feature-length book reviews and added David Brooks as a regular columnist. Then Kelly took the unusual step of leaving the editorship. (He remained as editor-at-large.) His work was done, and I imagine he had no need to create some kind of journalistic fiefdom, instead turning things over to Cullen Murphy, who appears to have succeeded (no slight to Murphy) by leaving Kelly's structure in place. If Kelly had done nothing else in his life, his turnaround of the Atlantic would put him in the editorial hall of fame on the first ballot. I'll miss his great writing too.