January 11, 2016

Whoa! Chris Hughes, having radically disrupted The New Republic, is now walking away from it.

Wow! What a media villain!
The New Republic, the century-old magazine that was rocked a year ago by the mass exodus of its staff following an effort by its owner to make it more digitally focused, is being put up for sale. Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook who purchased a majority stake in the struggling title in 2012, said in a staff memo Monday that he had underestimated “the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today’s quickly evolving climate,” and would seek to find a new owner.....
ADDED: My son John posted about this on Facebook, I commented there, and Timothy Noah (late of TNR and now of Politico) responded. I said I was interested in what he had to say, and he wrote this:
New owner should take a leaf from the supposedly market-worshipping right and not expect TNR to return a profit. If that's good enuf for National Review and the Weekly Standard why can't it be good enough for a magazine put out by people who are far less reverent about the virtues of untrammelled free enterprise? Plus the one GOOD thing about this golden age of income inequality is that it's produced a lot of rich people who can easily afford to subsidize a modest annual deficit. Hughes's mistake--a common one--was to pour a lot of money into the thing that he was never going to get back. Hence $20 million in losses over only four years. Also, the magazine should stop doing "long form" journalism because it's too expensive and it isn't really what TNR's been about all these years anyway. It should do lots of 1500- to 2000-word politicalreportage flavored with judicious opinion and wit, and it should do longer literary essays. In other words, it should be like the TNR of the 1980s only online and without the Cold War hawker. New owner should recapture its audience of political junkies, academics, and the intelligentsia, all of whom, I get the sense, have abandoned the magazine since Hughes took over.
AND: Roger Kimball: "ANYONE WANT TO BUY A CORPSE? YOURS FOR A BUCK."

27 comments:

bgates said...

"radically disrupted"? I'd say "fundamentally transformed".

tim in vermont said...

This is the same kind of crap Carly Fiorina ran into at HP. Of course Hughes is the villain in this piece.

Widmerpool said...

To quote one of the comments to the WSJ article: "Wow. Who cares?"

Thorley Winston said...

If he’s trying to sell (unload) The New Republic, Hughes probably doesn’t want to use words like “old” and “difficulty” in front of potential buyers.

Widmerpool said...

Also, wasn't his purchase predicated on pushing the political career of his partner? Once that went up in flames, only a matter of time before he moved on to new toys.

Fabi said...

I hate the term 'mass exodus' more than 'head 'em off at the pass'. Is there any other kind of exodus than mass?

Bob Boyd said...

Hughes said he wants to concentrate his energies on his next project, buying the Vatican and making it more yoga focused.

David Begley said...

Just lucky to know Zuckerberg at Harvard.

Future appointee if Hillary wins.

rehajm said...

The New York Times, The Atlantic, and other traditional outlets seem to have found business models that work for them.

If you define slowly bleeding to death as business models that work for them.

traditionalguy said...

The ultimate dilettante.

eric said...

This is what happens when you win the lottery of life and have no idea what to do with your money.

I can only hope I have such issues starting this Thursday, after I win the powerball.

Drago said...

Bob Boyd: "Hughes said he wants to concentrate his energies on his next project, buying the Vatican and making it more yoga focused."

Funny on multiple levels.

jaydub said...

I don't think folks should be too hard on Hughes. He tried to kill TNR, it just didn't quite work out. Maybe next owner.

Freeman Hunt said...

Wow. That's pretty terrible.

Kevin said...

Next up - Chris Hughes buys Rolling Stone.

Greg Hlatky said...

Is there any other kind of exodus than mass?

A slow one. See, for example, the Jews in present-day Europe.

Skeptical Voter said...

Chris Hughes decision to purchase TNR shows that he was deluded enough to think that he could pick up a journalistic meadow muffin by the clean end--and revive it.

Terry said...

Hughes is worth just shy of a billion $.
To today's tech millionaires, if philanthropy can't turn a profit, fuck it.
Paid circulation of TNR is around 50,000.

tola'at sfarim said...

to paraphrase branson "If you want to be a Millionaire, start with a billion dollars and buy a magazine".

Terry said...

I wonder if part of Hughes problems with getting TNR to turn a profit or break even is that he is competing for name-brand writing talent with organizations that don't intend to make money? You can't outsource name-brand talent, or mechanize them out of existence, or bring in cheap labor to replace them.

Bob Boyd said...

@ Drago

Thanks.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

bgates got there in one!

chuck said...

It wasn't Hughes fault, the problem was that TNR was published on stone slabs. Or at least Hughes would have us believe that.

Big Mike said...

Maybe the Kochs are interested in buying it?

Michael said...

The good part of TNR has always been the back of the book - the arts, literature, etc., coverage. They should build on that and otherwise go back to being a magazine with a point of view that was still willing to leave the (Progressive) Reservation every now and then.

mikee said...

There is a difference between a nonprofit organization and a business that does not make money. It amuses me that this is apparently not clear.

Jupiter said...

I almost feel sorry for the rotten, stinking God-damned Commies who write for TNR. Almost.