One of the reporters, Clare Morgana Gillis, has been contributing coverage of the Libyan civil war to the magazine, Atlantic Editor James Bennet said. She was traveling Tuesday with James Foley, a freelance contributor to GlobalPost.com, and photographers Manu Brabo of Spain and Anton Hammerl of South Africa.
Rebels reported seeing Gadhafi forces seize the journalists' car, take them into custody, release their driver and then destroy the vehicle.
In the past, captured journalists have been transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within a few days. Their release is then negotiated with the Turkish Embassy.
The Atlantic said it is working with Human Rights Watch and Global Post and has been advised the U.S. State Department also is trying to make sure the four captives are freed.
Gillis, who recently received a doctorate in medieval history from Harvard, also has written on Libya for USA Today and The Christian Science Monitor, Bennet said.