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‘Force of Nature’ Linda Douglass Out at Atlantic Media; Emily Lenzner In

Here’s a bit of a shocker.

This morning we learn that Linda Douglass, Atlantic Media‘s head of communications, is leaving at the end at the month. She will stay on board in an advisory role. “I will miss her very much,” said spokeswoman Natalie Raabe in an email. “But a terrific person will be taking her place: Emily Lenzner.”

Emily Lenzer had her own consulting firm, before that she was managing director at SKDKnickerbocker. And before that she handled publicity for ABC News.

Here in the Fishbowl, this is rough news. We’ve had spirited discussions with Douglass over the past three and a half years and despite the occasional friction that occurs between publicists and journalists (let’s put it this way: if you haven’t been on the receiving end of a stinging Douglass email you haven’t lived) we have enjoyed working with Douglass a great deal and admire her humor, smarts and toughness.

See the glowing and touching internal memo from Atlantic‘s President Justin Smith

Dear Colleagues,

There is no better way of capturing our feelings than the expression “bittersweet” as I write this announcement of Linda Douglass’ decision to start a new chapter after three remarkable years at the helm of Atlantic Media’s communications efforts.

The bitter part is simple: We are saying a goodbye to the round-the-clock presence of one of our brightest and most effective stars. The sweet part is two-fold: first, that Linda has made the right personal decision to disconnect from 80 hour weeks in order to, as she put it, “experiment with the concept of more free time.” That means she is not leaving us completely but will shift to a more part-time role advising Atlantic Media on numerous fronts. And second, that Linda, as is her practice, has carefully tended to her succession by identifying the uniquely talented Emily Lenzner to step into her big shoes to run communications for Atlantic Media. We are thrilled that Emily will be joining us. More about that in a moment.

Linda is the best kind of “force of nature.” In a very short time, she helped put Atlantic Media, our great brands and our world-class journalism and journalists, at the forefront of the American media conversation. The impactful journalism we produce every day across multiple platforms speaks for itself. The metrics of Atlantic Media’s success are out there for others to judge. But Linda’s unique contribution has been to build a great communications team and tell the Atlantic Media story– in all its forms– in the most powerful ways possible. From the doubling of The Atlantic’s business to the digitization of Government Executive and National Journal to the launch of Quartz and Atlantic Media Strategies, she has highlighted the extensive innovation within our ranks for the whole world to see. In this crucial task, she has succeeded unequivocally.

David recently told me that he’s never been represented, better defended in the media space than by Linda Douglass and that, “personally and professionally, she’s the best possible person you could know.” Please join me in thanking Linda for her remarkable contributions to our company.

Now, about Emily Lenzner, who has already established herself as one of the smartest communications strategists in Washington. She joins us to lead Atlantic Media’s communications team, build on Linda’s great work and lead us into the future. Emily has spent the last twenty years in the world of media relations and strategic communications. She was the Executive Director of Communications for the Washington DC bureau of ABC News and then spent two years as a managing director at SDKnickerbocker before starting her own consulting firm. She’s received rave reviews wherever she has been. She has managed a variety of national media campaigns, including the recent high-profile roll-out of The New Republic and knows the media business well. Emily possesses a rare understanding of both the New York media world and Beltway politics and policy. She has been a star across every station in her career and we feel very lucky that she has chosen us for this next stage.

Please join me in thanking Linda and welcoming Emily.

Kind regards,

Justin

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