Politics

Facebook Co-Founder and Obama 2008 Social Media Guru Chris Hughes Buys The New Republic

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Congratulations on your independence, TNR!

At the ripe old age of 28, Chris Hughes will now be the editor in chief and publisher of the 98-year-old liberal opinion magazine. From The Washington Post:

A 2006 graduate of Harvard University, Hughes was among the group of college classmates who started Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg, Hughes's roommate, in 2003. Forbes has estimated Hughes's net worth at $700 million, but that was before Facebook filed this year to offer its first shares to the public.

Hughes left Facebook in 2007 to serve as social-media director for Obama's campaign, organizing an effort that raised record amounts of money. […]

Hughes will have a big challenge in turning around a biweekly publication that has had three owners in the past five years and has been losing readers for more than a decade. The magazine reportedly has a circulation of 50,000.

From The New York Times:

His focus, he said in an interview in advance of the announcement, will be on distributing the magazine's long-form journalism through tablet computers like the iPad. Though 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. […]

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. […]

Never forget!

Asked how he would turn a profit for the money-losing magazine, Mr. Hughes said, "Profit per se is not my motive. The reason I'm getting involved here is that I believe in the type of vigorous contextual journalism that we — we in general as a society — need."

He added that he hoped the magazine could be profitable. "But I'm investing and taking control of The New Republic because of my belief in its mission, not to make it the next Facebook," he said.

Political magazines, which as a rule do not cover expenses through subscriptions and advertising, have two basic ownership models: Get an ideologically and/or culturally sympatico rich person (or "vanity mogul," in Jack Shafer's memorable phrasing) to subsidize the losses, or just organize as a nonprofit (Reason chose the latter road decades ago).

There are plusses and minuses to both–as Shafer points out, "Hughes should be able to sustain the magazine's annual losses — which Anne Peretz, the ex-wife of former owner Martin Peretz put at $3 million a year — for a couple of hundred years after his death"–but one aspect I certainly enjoy about the Reason way is that it is literally impossible for a single person (let alone a single person with deep political connections to the sitting U.S. president) to impose his or her will on the editorial decisions of a normally configured nonprofit publication. The basic editorial thrust is therefore much more resilient and consistent in the long term, much less subject to the temporal whims and temper tantrums of a lone deep-pocketed journalistic novice.

More Jack Shafer on the legacy of the man who steered the ship of TNR to the lowlier state it has found itself recently:

Never forget!

Martin Peretz came closer to becoming a pariah than a player in the four decades he controlled the magazine. [..]

Perhaps [Hughes will] be a terrific editor-in-chief, hiring talented journalists as he makes good on his promise to enlarge its staff while soaking up the magazine's deficit. Or maybe he'll be an editor-in-chief like Martin Peretz was, hiring talented journalists as he enlarges its staff and covered its deficits, but insisting that the editors publish his loopy columns.

But vanity moguls who say their primary focus isn't profits still tend to lose interest in their publications in direct proportion to the amount of money they lose. Pariah Peretz was unique in his perseverance. But then again, it was his wife's fortune that stoked the magazine's furnace for so many years.

From Hughes' inaugural column:

The New Republic has been and will remain a journal of progressive values, but it will above all aim to appeal to independent thinkers on the left and the right who search for fresh ideas and a deeper understanding of the challenges our world faces.

TNR founder Herbert Croly was one of the most influential progenitors of political Progressivism in these United States. Read this classic and prescient 1997 column by beloved former Reason editor Virginia Postrel about Croly's modern legacy.

NEXT: Americans Elect...to Pay Off Big Donors to Feckless Centrist Third Party

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  2. “His focus …. will be on distributing the magazine’s long-form journalism through tablet computers like the iPad”

    So he’s going to try to branch out to the masses, is he?

    1. His focus …. will be on distributing the magazine’s long-form journalism through tablet computers like the iPad

      I’m pretty sure I can view TNR’s website on my Ipad right now. And that a TNR app (if it doesn’t already exist) could easily be developed without the financial muscle and genius insight of Mr. Facebook.

      1. Facebook has never impressed me very much. It’s not like founding Google or Microsoft. Yes, they’re successful, but so was the guy who invented the Pet Rock.

        1. Exactly. Their only accomplishment was beating out MySpace. And that was done by the CEO they hired in 06.

      2. Facebook was built by the woman CEO. It was dying until she came in. These douche bags had one admittedly great and timely idea. Good for them. But just because you get one good idea, doesn’t mean you are qualified to read the meters at a pay toilet.

        1. as a paytoilet meter reader, I am deeply offended.

          1. You make an honest living and are more qualified than this guy.

        2. WTF are you babbling about? Woman CEO?

          Zuckerberg is a control freak CEO. There never was a woman CEO.

          Damned liberal capitalist billionaires!

          1. That will come as a hell of a surprise to Sheryl Sandberg you fucking retard.

            1. She is the COO, you looney goofball.

              1. Yes because Chief Operating Officer is so much different than CEO. She runs the company and turned it around from near death in 2008.

                Zuckerburg and company are figureheads.

                1. SHUTUP JOHN I’M IN FINANCE!!!1

              2. She was and is the COO, but John’s right–Facebook only became a going concern as a business when she got involved. Even so, they’re still not doing a very good job in exploiting the commercial opportunities associated with their large membership base.

                1. You are both full of shit. Microsoft bought about 1% of Facebook for $240 million in 2007 well before she came in. Not bad for some geeks.

                  She is a liberal anyway. She worked for Summers.

                  1. She is a liberal anyway.

                    Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap Fap….(until mom comes down with cookies and breaks his rhythm)

  3. He wants to advance progressive values and I’ve always thought libertarianism was pretty progressive. So who’s going to be TNR’s libertarian progressive?

    1. Not that kind of progressive!!

  4. Will he jump the shark just like when The Huffington Post was sold to AOL?

    1. That one didn’t make it over the shark.

  5. Now the juice box journalists have someplace to go when the WaPo, NYT and others grow tired of them.

  6. Just imagine the waling and gnashing of teeth if the Kochs bought an mainline national news magazine not to make a profit mind you but to “get the word out”.

    1. There’s no money in evangelism. Wait a minute…

    2. ^^THIS.

      The shrill response from the liberal pundits would be deafening.

      1. Citizens United!!!

    3. K”But I’m investing and taking control of The New Republic because of my belief in its mission, not to make it the next Facebook,” he said.

      I wish I could sometimes play a national journalism game.

      Have headlines like “rich guy buys magazine to further the mission.”

      The article would have the rich guy’s name and the magazine’s name blanked out.

      Then register reader disgust.

      Reprint the article with the names filled in, then re-register reader disgust.

  7. And you shouldn’t make fun of people’s appearance. But how did this guy allow a picture as unflattering as the one the Fast Company cover, be published? It makes him look like the kid who Justin Bieber used to beat up in middle school.

    1. Or a less straight Clay Aiken.

      1. That is harsh. But sadly true.

    2. You poke fun, but chicks dig that shit. I know a guy with sexually non-threatening boyish looks… he gets more bumper than a body shop.

      1. Considering his bank account, he could have a horn and would still get whatever he wants. I just don’t know why anyone wouldn’t look at that picture and go “fuck no are you publishing that”.

      2. gets more bumper than a body shop

        does that sound really gay to anyone else?

        1. Not an Airheads afficianado, I see.

          1. comedy central probably bleeped it out.

            which should settle the afficianado question.

      3. ja, I know a girl who only dated – with one or two exceptions – short, girly men. My prognosis: She only likes men who are non-threatening, both physically and mentally.

    3. the kid who Justin Bieber used to beat up

      That’s too funny.

  8. Hughes will have a big challenge in turning around a biweekly publication that has had three owners in the past five years

    I swear to Cthulu, I read that as “three readers”.

    1. Now there’s your threadwinner!

  9. Hughes will have a big challenge in turning around a biweekly publication that has had three owners in the past five years and has been losing readers for more than a decade. The magazine reportedly has a circulation of 50,000

    How does TNR bleed readers while the nation is electing Brack Obama?

    Is this the phenomenon that when your guy’s in charge, his supporters go to sleep?

    1. They have been losing readers for “more than a decade”. So 8 years of BushHitler didn’t even help them.

      1. Yeah, but Barack McTarpyStimulus has been president for four years… I wonder if they bled faster of stayed flat.

  10. it will above all aim to appeal to independent thinkers on the left and the right who search for fresh ideas and a deeper understanding of the challenges our world faces.

    Okay, then.

    Perhaps, in his pursuit of that “deeper understanding” he should include a regular Money Does Not Grow on Trees column.

    1. His worldview has been perverted by Wall Street on that one. Guaranteed.

    2. As soon as he writes the Strangers Will Not Throw Nearly a Billion Dollars in Your Bank Account for Reinventing E-Mail column, he’ll get right on that.

  11. How does TNR bleed readers while the nation is electing Brack Obama?

    Something something 140 characters lol!

  12. Just imagine the waling and gnashing of teeth if the Kochs bought an mainline national news magazine not to make a profit mind you but to “get the word out”.

    You could probably get U S News and World Report for ten bucks and a Happy Meal.

    1. You would be over paying. Newsweek went for a buck and was probably over valued. I am thinking one of Sandra Fluke’s used condoms would probably get you Useless News.

  13. Headlines!

    “Brilliant Young Liberal Millionaire Buys Struggling Magazine to Turn it Around”

    “Evil Conservative Monster Rupert Murdoch Buys Myspace – Beginning of Open Fascism in America?”

    1. The dark night of fascism is always falling on America.

      1. “when fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jackboots. It will be Nike sneakers and smiley shirts. Smiley-smiley.”
        -George Carlin

        1. And in skinny jeans.

          George didn’t live long enough to witness the rise of the skinny jeans nazis.

        2. Yes it will. Having grown up in a free country, I never understood how these things worked. But I am learning.

          1. There are way too many examples for people to study on how to turn a free society toward fascism. Sadly, much more rare are the inverse examples.

        3. I miss George Carlin. 🙁

          1. I got to see him perform one time. About all I remember was when he said “Ever notice at those anti-abortion rallies? You wouldn’t want to fuck any of them anyway!” and laughing until I was in pain.

  14. Threadjack to say:

    I’m seeing articles now claiming that the guy who killed those people in Afghanistan was a SEAL.

    I guess that answers the question of how he got off the base.

    Frickin’ Karzai should be happy he wasn’t one of the dead if it was a SEAL who decided to go postal.

    1. Wha? He was stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord.

      PANJWAI, Afghanistan ? Stalking from home to home, an Army sergeant from Joint Base Lewis-McChord methodically killed at least 16 civilians ?

      I think those articles you’re reading are flat wrong.

    2. He was an Army Sergeant. SEALS are Navy. So, he cannot be a SEAL.

      1. Maybe he was cross-trained. Like they do with firefighters and EMTs.

  15. In other news, Bar Refaeli is still hot!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvs…..shoot.html

    1. I can’t tell if she is pretty or not. I can’t see past all that skin.

  16. Sure hope this kills TNR. Progressives are destructive monsters. TNR spreads poison.

  17. A fool and his money…

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