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What is the New Yorker?

By Kathy Hawkins
Updated May 23, 2024
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The New Yorker is an American magazine known for its sophisticated tone, in-depth articles, esteemed literary fiction and poetry, and its famous cartoons. Since 1925, The New Yorker has published the work of thousands of talented writers, including Truman Capote, John McPhee, and Susan Orlean. Though the magazine is rooted in and associated with New York City, it has subscribers all over the country.

In 1925, The New Yorker was founded by Harold Ross, along with his wife, Janet Grant. Ross wanted to create a more erudite, sophisticated magazine than those that existed at the time. Initially, the magazine was classified as a humor magazine, but it quickly became a platform for long-form journalism, literary fiction, and poetry. Ross served as The New Yorker's editor for more than 25 years, until his death in 1951. Ross was succeeded by an even longer-running editor, Wallace Shawn, who worked at the magazine from 1951 to 1987. Since then, The New Yorker has had several editors; David Remnick has held the title since 1998.

The New Yorker is known for running long, journalistic stories on quirky and eclectic subjects, such as unique people or places. One of the magazine's staff writers, Susan Orlean, wrote a story about a man who steals orchids that was developed into a bestselling novel called The Orchid Thief; the book was then loosely adapted into the film Adaptation. In 1965, Truman Capote's famous book, In Cold Blood, was serialized in The New Yorker. The magazine's articles and profiles are critically acclaimed for their depth and quality of writing.

Though it is not one of the highest-circulating magazines in America, The New Yorker is definitely the most prestigious. Today, there are close to one million subscribers to the magazine throughout the country; their average income level, at more than $80,000 US Dollars, is far higher than the average American salary. Though most readers are in their 40s or 50s, The New Yorker is gaining in popularity among a younger audience that appreciates high-quality writing and content.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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