The Atlantic is often praised as an old media organization that's figured out a sharp and entrepreneurial digital strategy. That praise is deserved--but today it proved that it, too, is capable of making missteps. 

According to a memo from Atlantic Media co-presidents James Bennet and Bob Cohn, breaking news and culture site The Wire will be folded into the magazine's website, less than a year after a rebranding that changed its name from Atlantic Wire. 

The change in digital strategy comes as a surprise. The Wire had received lavish praise for the strength of its coverage--if not massive traffic nor the kinds of social share stats that would make the likes of BuzzFeed proud. The company launched financial news site Quartz in 2012, followed less than a year later by Defense One, which covers national security issues. Along with The Wire, those two websites represented Atlantic Media's efforts in launching "digital first" publications that debuted on the web. 

"[T]he business strategy behind separating The Wire from The Atlantic simply hasn’t proven out," the co-presidents wrote in the memo.

The Wire attracts 3.9 million monthly users and had grown traffic 286 percent year over year, according to its most recent online media kit for advertisers.

Folding The Wire back into The Atlantic's main site won't result in any staff reductions and its urban planning-focused site CityLab (previously known as The Atlantic Cities) will continue to operate as a separate entity, AdWeek reports. 

Published on: Sep 22, 2014