Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

The New Republic Is For Sale, Owner Chris Hughes Says

The New Republic, the once iconic liberal-leaning magazine, is up for sale, publisher and chairman Chris Hughes has announced.

Hughes, a Facebook Inc co-founder, bought a majority interest in the magazine in 2012. He said in the letter, posted on the website Medium, that he underestimated the difficulty in transitioning from an old and traditional institution into a digital media company.

“After investing a great deal of time, energy, and over $20 million, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for new leadership and vision at The New Republic,” Hughes wrote. “Over the coming weeks, I’ll pursue conversations with those interested in taking on the mantle and supporting the next era of this institution.”

He added, “Perhaps it should be run as part of a larger digital media company, as a center-left institute of ideas, or by another passionate individual willing to invest in its future.”

Last year, the magazine grappled with a number of resignations, including that of editor Franklin Foer and literary editor Leon Wieseltier, due to disagreements over its direction, according to various published reports.

FULL TEXT OF HUGHES’ POST ON MEDIUM

To the staff of The New Republic,

I have some difficult news today: I have decided to put The New Republic up for sale. I bought this company nearly four years ago to ensure its survival and give it the financial runway to experiment with new business models in a time of immense change in media. After investing a great deal of time, energy, and over $20 million, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for new leadership and vision at The New Republic.

Over the past few years we have made good progress in reinvigorating this institution. Our readership has grown younger and more diverse, largely as a result of our digital strategy. Our journalism has been widely recognized as impactful, impassioned, and more relevant to our nation’s challenges than ever. As a business, we have launched a brand marketing studio called Novel, built a flexible and fast mobile website, and developed our own content management system. We have made it possible for The New Republic to survive and begin to flourish in its second century.

Yet I will be the first to admit that when I took on this challenge nearly four years ago, I underestimated the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today’s quickly evolving climate. When I bought The New Republic, it was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, and I believed that an institution as old and important as it should survive and evolve in an era where its values were still relevant and needed. This place stands for some of the best and most important elements of liberalism: a belief in the role of government to correct free markets, in the power of representative democracy to hold the elite accountable, and in America’s responsibility to be a force for good in the world. These values have sustained and animated not just me, but this tireless and dedicated team over the past few years.

The unanswered question for The New Republic remains: can it find a sustainable business model that will power its journalism in the decades to come? There are bright signs on the horizon: Vox, Vice, the Texas Tribune, Buzzfeed, ProPublica, and Mic embody a new generation of promising organizations — some for-profit, others non-profit — that have put serious, high-quality journalism at the core of their identities. The New York Times, The Atlantic, and other traditional outlets seem to have found business models that work for them. I hope that this institution will one day be part of that list. To get there The New Republic needs a new vision that only a new owner can bring.

As many know, in 2014 I broke with legacy editors over fundamental questions of how digitally-oriented and business-focused this place should be. It was clear then, as it is now, that any acrimony was motivated by deep passion and care for an institution that is bigger than any one of us. Our disagreement didn’t help our ability to make The New Republic viable today, but it also did not spell our demise. The journalism and technology that we have produced since has been some of the most forward-thinking, creative work that has been done in the history of the magazine. Our Editor-in-Chief Gabriel Snyder has assembled an incredible team of talented journalists who are some of the best in the business. Even though our search for a workable business model has come up short, we have shown that digital journalism isn’t at odds with quality and depth.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll pursue conversations with those interested in taking on the mantle and supporting the next era of this institution. My aim is to place The New Republic in the hands of the most promising and dedicated potential steward. This next chapter could take many forms. Perhaps it should be run as part of a larger digital media company, as a center-left institute of ideas, or by another passionate individual willing to invest in its future. There are many possibilities. Although I do not have the silver bullet, a new owner should have the vision and commitment to carry on the traditions that make this place unique and give it a new mandate for a new century.

As these conversations unfold, our staff will remain in place and fully supported over the coming weeks. We will hold an all hands meeting for staff at 11am this morning.

It’s time for the next chapter to begin.

With gratitude, Chris

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.