Jonathan Alter

Jonathan Alter graduated from Harvard in 1979, was an editor of the Washington Monthly from 1981 to 1982, and remains a contributing editor. He joined Newsweek in 1983, where he was a senior editor and columnist for 28 years. He joined NBC News as a contributing correspondent in 1996 and appears frequently on the “Today” show, NBC Nightly News, and MSNBC. He is the author of two bestselling books: The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope, and The Promise: President Obama, Year One. He is married, has three children, and lives in Montclair, New Jersey.


One of the most enduring visual images of the news business is the “zipper” – the electronic display belt (most famously in Times Square) that relays breaking news to passersby. “Pearl Harbor attacked,” “FDR dead” “Space shuttle launched” – the zipper has always been concise, clear, and as “objective” as it is possible to be…. Read more »