Think of The Atlantic 50 as our all-star team. These are the most influential commentators in the nation, the columnists and bloggers and broadcast pundits who shape the national debates. To compile the list, our team spent months collecting and analyzing data, tracking a group of 400 names that eventually became our 50. Our in-house methodology relies on three streams of information:


  • Influence: We conducted surveys of more than 250 insiders – members of Congress, national media figures, and political players – asking respondents to rank-order the commentators who most influence their own thinking. These surveys were done with National Journal.
  • Reach: We collected and analyzed data to measure the total audience of each commentator.
  • Web Engagement:  In partnership with PostRank, a company specializing in filtering social media data, the Wire analyzed top commentators on 16 measures of webiness, including mentions on Twitter and performance on popular social media sites like Digg and Delicious.

The final list is the result of an algorithm that brings together these three factors.

After we identified the Atlantic 50, we set out to monitor their opinions: to read everything they write, to listen to everything they say, to organize their views in a useful format. Our profile and topic pages allow you to track the national debate by commentator or by subject. The goal is to keep you informed about the ideas and personalities driving the conversation.