Hill will cover issues related to sports, race, politics, and culture for both the magazine and TheAtlantic.com. She will be based in Los Angeles, where The Atlantic is establishing a second California bureau after opening an office in San Francisco this summer.
“Jemele is a wonderfully talented journalist who is famous for her acute commentary, fearless writing and encyclopedic knowledge of sports,” said Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic, in a statement. “But what drew us to Jemele in particular is her deep commitment to reporting. There are a million stories to be uncovered at the intersection where sports, race, money and politics meet, and Jemele is the exact right person to do this uncovering, and The Atlantic is the exact right home for this sort of journalism.”
Hill rose to wider renown at ESPN after she was paired with Michael Smith. Their frank discussions about all kinds of issues resounded with viewers on ESPN2. But they tread rockier ground when they tried to bring that conversation to “SportsCenter” on the flagship network. Hill who sparked a massive controversy for the Walt Disney-owned cable network when she called President Donald Trump a “white supremacist” on social media last year. She confirmed last month she would part ways with ESPN after 12 years to pursue new ventures.
“The Atlantic made perfect sense to me because during this period, it’s critical to be aligned with people who understand this mission: Sports is a great entry point for exploring what’s happening in the wider society,” said Hill, in a statement. “You can’t talk about sports without talking about race, class, gender and politics. I want to explore the complications and discomforts with a publication that has a long history of supporting this kind of work.”
Hill began her journalism career at the Raleigh News & Observer before moving back to her hometown to cover sports for the Detroit Free Press, and later the Orlando Sentinel. She joined ESPN in 2006.
The Atlantic is in the midst of a company-wide expansion, which will see the addition of 100 new staff and investments across the newsroom, all divisions, and platforms. The Atlantic expects to grow its coverage of Hollywood and culture, and is doubling its teams covering politics and national affairs.