The Nation, one of the oldest, most prominent progressive magazines in the country, is facing the problems that are facing other legacy media: the struggle to change their focus to online-first as print struggles industry-wide. The oldest weekly magazine still in existence, The Nation launched a beautiful new redesign of their website in July 2015 to celebrate their 150th anniversary. In a press release from the magazine, editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel is quoted as saying, “While I am delighted to honor the magazine’s illustrious history, these times demand that The Nation be ever bolder, willing to unshackle our imaginations and ready to think anew,” she said. “The site redesign is elegant, nimble and innovative, and I believe it will ensure that The Nation is more vital than ever for the next generation of readers.”
The press release offers some interesting information about The Nation’s online audiences and strategies. According to the release, TheNation.com’s audience has grown “exponentially year over year, with traffic driven by a vibrant social media presence and accessed across numerous platforms- nearly half of its readers come from mobile.” The Nation now reaches nearly 3 million unique readers a month, which is more than four times the amount TheNation.com had reached a few years ago (the release is not specific about this time frame). The most interesting thing I discovered about TheNation.com was that the largest online demographic reached is millennials, people aged 25 to 34. Ten percent of TheNation.com’s readership is under 24 years old, another impressive feat.
An Editor’s note from Richard Kim adds additional information about The Nation’s online strategy. Kim writes The Nation publishes about 70 articles online each week, which go out to 420,000 Twitter followers, 290,000 Facebook fans and 200,000 email subscribers. “It’s become an industry cliché to lament how the Internet rewards content mills that churn out the equivalent of digital fast food,” Kim said. “But here at The Nation, the exact opposite has proved true: The more we learn about our readers, the more inspired we are to create great journalism for them.” Kim wrote that the most-read articles online at The Nation were reports on the crisis in Ukraine, Israel’s siege of Gaza, online feminism, police brutality and the effects of lobbyists on American politics. The Nation shows that it is possible for legacy independent media to be successful online.