Meet an Anthem Judge: Nicholas Thompson, The Atlantic
Nicholas Thompson is the CEO of The Atlantic, a multi-platform publisher that has been covering news, politics, culture, technology, health, and more, through its articles, podcasts, videos, and flagship magazine since 1857. He’s also a new judge for The Anthem Awards, and will be reviewing this year’s purpose & mission-driven entries. Learn more about Nicolas Thompson’s work below.
1. For those who are unfamiliar, can you tell us a bit about yourself and the work that you do?
I’m the CEO of The Atlantic, which means I’m in charge of running the business of a magazine that was founded in 1857 by abolitionists working to protect American democracy. My job is to build a successful economic model for the publication and to help ensure that our work reaches as many people as possible. Previously, I was the editor in chief of Wired Magazine, which meant my job was to assign and edit stories that helped people understand the technological forces upturning society.
2. What expertise are you bringing as a judge for The Anthem Awards?
I have a long professional commitment to journalism and to storytelling, which I believe can be great forces to help bring civil society together. I care deeply about facts and I love to learn new things and meet new people. I also have spent many years trying to understand how the Internet truly works, and what the coming technological change will mean for how society functions.
3. What are you looking for in Anthem Awards entries?
There are too many forces in the world, and this country, driving people apart. I want to recognize and honor projects that bring people together, that create opportunity, that support sustainability; and that honor the best values of this country.
4. What does it take for a project or campaign to cause real-world change?
You can change the whole world; you can change a country; you can change a town; and you can change just one thing that one person does. It all matters. What I love most is when there’s a positive change that works like a domino: improving one thing that then improves another thing the next day.
5. What social impact campaign, grassroot effort, fundraiser or project has recently inspired you?
I am always inspired by people who are able to use modern technology in ways that increase justice—like Thorn Spotlight, a program that uses image recognition and other modern technology to help thwart child trafficking. I will also be forever in awe of The Covid Tracking Project—created by Atlantic journalists before I started there—which transformed the country’s ability to understand the pandemic.