Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Co-Founder of Facebook Takes Chance on Old Media ; New Republic's Writing Is Perfect for the Age of Tablet Computers, He Says

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Co-Founder of Facebook Takes Chance on Old Media ; New Republic's Writing Is Perfect for the Age of Tablet Computers, He Says

Article excerpt

The New Republic, a left-leaning political journal founded in 1914, has been sold to Chris Hughes, 28, a new-media guru who co- founded Facebook.

The newest owner of The New Republic magazine is Chris Hughes, a new-media guru who co-founded Facebook and helped run the online organizing machine for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

Mr. Hughes's purchase of a majority stake in the magazine was announced Friday, once again remaking the masthead of the nearly century-old magazine that helped define modern U.S. liberalism.

His focus, he said during an interview in advance of the announcement, will be on distributing the magazine's long-form journalism through tablet computers like the iPad. Although he does not intend to end the printed publication, "five to 10 years from now, if not sooner, the vast majority of The New Republic readers are likely to be reading it on a tablet," he said.

Mr. Hughes, 28, will become publisher and the editor in chief of the magazine, and Richard Just will remain the editor. Martin Peretz, who was editor in chief from 1975 until 2010, when his title was changed to editor in chief emeritus, will become a member of the magazine's advisory board.

The terms of the sale were not disclosed. Mr. Hughes said he was motivated by an interest in "the future of high-quality long-form journalism" and by an instinct that such journalism was a natural fit for tablets. He said he would "expand the amount of rigorous reporting and solid analysis" that the magazine produces.

For Mr. Just, that means an opportunity to hire more writers and editors -- an important step for a publication with a total head count of 29. "It's been years" since that increased, he said.

The influence of The New Republic has often outstripped its small staff and its small circulation (around 50,000). Founded in 1914 by the political journalist Walter Lippmann, it has long been a part of the liberal movement, counting presidents, including John F. Kennedy, as readers, and luminaries, including George Orwell, Virginia Wolff and Philip Roth, as writers.

Under Mr. Peretz's editorship and ownership, the magazine passionately supported Israel and drew criticism at times for its pro-war stances. …

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