The Spectator, which has published weekly out of London since 1828, will launch a US edition this fall. Spectator USA has had a successful digital-only presence in America since the spring of 2018. It will publish its first monthly US print edition on October 1, only 191 years after the launch of the London edition.
‘Better late than never,’ says Andrew Neil, Chairman of The Spectator worldwide. ‘With our unparalleled success in the UK and our happy experience in Australia, we’ve decided it’s time to bring our unique brand of magazine journalism to the US. Like its mothership back in London, The Spectator’s US edition will be no dour, dull, run-of-the-mill political magazine. We will not be short of opinion and analysis on current affairs, presented in The Spectator’s distinctive style, but we do not think man or woman lives by politics alone. So we will also cover books, culture, the arts, food, wine and travel — everything that makes life worth living, done with humor, panache and style. As someone once wisely opined: The Spectator is more a cocktail party than a political party.’
Boris Johnson, the new British prime minister, is a former Spectator editor. ‘There has never been a better time to launch a trans-Atlantic publishing venture,’ says Andrew Neil. ‘We are now in the age of “Boris Trump” and we will have important things to say about it, with serious intent and, when required, with humor to cheer us up. These days not all journalism is reliable, enjoyable, fact-based, concise or non-ideological. The Spectator has been all of that since 1828. The US edition will continue in that tradition. It will care more about clarity of thought and quality of prose than ideological loyalty.’
The Spectator’s US edition will be an 88-page book, perfect bound, with a glossy cover. It will be available largely through subscription, with only very limited newsstand distribution in New York and Washington DC to begin with. Subscriptions for the print and digital bundle will be $7.99 a month (first month free and you can cancel anytime) and $3.99 a month for digital only.
The UK edition of The Spectator is now the fastest-growing magazine in Europe. The US edition of The Spectator will include all the ingredients that have made the UK edition such a success, but will be published monthly rather than weekly and with a distinctive focus on America and the global developments that affect it. So there will be penetrating, original analysis and commentary on American and world politics. There will also be articles on lifestyle, culture, food, wine, travel and fun. The hallmarks of The Spectator are fine, concise writing, a sense of humor and a desire to enjoy life whatever the trials of the moment. The US edition will embody all of these values. It will have strong views of its own but it will not be narrowly ideological. Writers will be allowed to disagree with the magazine’s editorial line and with other contributors. That’s the Spectator way.
The Spectator established an Australian edition 11 years ago, which is growing and profitable. The UK edition is enjoying record print/digital sales of over 100,000 (ABC audited) and is also comfortably profitable. Success in London and Sydney has encouraged The Spectator to enter the mighty US market.
The Spectator launched a digital edition of the magazine, Spectator USA, (spectator.us), in the spring of 2018. It has enjoyed steady growth and increased recognition ever since, with website traffic growing on average 20 percent month-on-month. This has encouraged The Spectator to launch a US print edition to complement its digital play.
‘The weekly Spectator in Britain is already the best English-language magazine in the world,’ says Freddy Gray, The Spectator’s US editor. ‘Now, the monthly US edition will be the best of the best, and we’re bringing in lots of great US contributors. It’s very exciting to watch it all take shape. We know the US market is a tough nut to crack but we think we offer something different and special.’
The Spectator is currently staffed with seven editors and writers in the US and a stable of regular contributors and columnists. The US edition of The Spectator will largely feature original US-sourced content but it will also take the best from the UK and Australian editions, including world-class columnists such as Rod Liddle, Taki, Lionel Shriver, Douglas Murray and Jeremy Clarke, among others.
‘We try not to take ourselves too seriously,’ says Gray. ‘We are interested in publishing great, provocative pieces, entertaining our readers, and being fun to read. The secret — whisper it — is that having fun in journalism works.’
The US edition will include contributors like Christopher Buckley, P.J. O’Rourke, Julie Bindel, Christopher Caldwell, Lionel Shriver, Douglas Murray, Tanya Gold, Toby Young, Slavoj Žižek, Roger Scruton and Rod Liddle.
The Spectator has published some of the greatest writers in the history of the English language, including G.K. Chesterton, John Buchan, Graham Greene, John Betjeman, Evelyn and Auberon Waugh, Ian Fleming, Hilary Mantel, Henry Fairlie, Alexander Chancellor, Tina Brown, Iris Murdoch, Christopher Hitchens, Beryl Bainbridge, Peregrine Worsthorne and Michael Lewis.
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