Surprising news came this week as the Emerson Collective took control of The Atlantic. This was not just an every day media take over, as Emerson Collective’s president is the widow of Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs. Could this indicate that some sort of Apple influence may leak into one of the oldest media outlets in the United States?
The Apple connection is kind of a joke. Powell Jobs, a philanthropist, besides heading the Emerson Collective, brings to the job leadership that has turned support of progressive causes into a tradition. Since it was founded in 2004, they have focused on education and reform to immigration. Now, Powell Jobs will take control of The Atlantic from the DC power broker, David Bradley, who has owned the magazine since 1999.
There was a list put together by a team set up by Bradly of more than 600 potential investors, but he only approached Powell Jobs. She had a deeper, personal connection with the magazine, and in a statement said that the name of her organization, and its mission, was inspired by the co-founder of the magazine, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Powell Jobs praised the magazine on its news coverage, bringing all people an equality, celebrating the literature and culture of America as well as what could be called a messy and marvelous experiment called democracy.
As of right now, the buyout is only for The Atlantic, and not Atlantic Media, which includes National Journal and Quartz. Powell Jobs may eventually take full control, and spin those entities off individually.
It is not the first time someone with ties to Silicon Valley has going the elite in Washington media. In 2013, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and borderline richest man in the world, purchased The Washington Post. In 2012 The New Republic was bought by Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, but he sold it four years later.
The fate of The Atlantic is unknown. It is currently profitable and continues to grow. Emerson Collective bringing an influx of money along with the Powell Jobs name could help The Atlantic to reach new levels, when many other media companies are struggling to stay afloat.
As for Apple, it is not clear at this time if Powell Jobs connection will improve the relationship of The Atlantic with the iPhone maker. It may get a really cool look in the Apple News app, or Powell Jobs may insist on no perks, and leave it solely to Emerson Collective to run the historic media outlet.
By Cletus Dillwood