Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes buys the New Republic

Dylan Stableford
The Cutline

The New Republic, the 98-year-old liberal magazine, has been sold. The buyer: Chris Hughes, 28-year-old co-founder of Facebook, and now TNR's editor in chief and publisher.

Richard Just, the magazine's editor since 2010, will remain in that position, while Martin Peretz, who helmed the magazine for 35 years before giving way to Just, will remain on the magazine's advisory board.

The change was announced Friday in a letter from Hughes to readers.

"Technology's disruption of traditional forms of media has led many to believe that independent, thoughtful media institutions are on the decline and that there are not enough readers to support serious reporting and analysis," Hughes wrote. "But in 1914, the founders of The New Republic chose to strike out and pursue their vision in spite of the prevailing opinions of their time. They saw a need for a magazine of informed opinion and insightful, thorough reporting. I share their vision."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Hughes—who co-founded Facebook with Harvard roommates Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz in 2004—said he plans to invest in reporting instead of chasing "superficial metrics of online virality," and hire more writers. The magazine currently employs about 30 staffers.

"In the next era of The New Republic, we will aggressively adapt to the newest information technologies without sacrificing our commitment to serious journalism," he wrote. "We will look to tell the most important stories in politics and the arts and provide the type of rigorous analysis that The New Republic has been known for. We will ask pressing questions of our leaders, share groundbreaking new ideas, and shed new light on the state of politics and culture."

Hughes' courting of TNR began last fall.

"When I first met Chris in November, I was immediately struck by how much he believed in this kind of journalism," Just recalled in a separate memo. "About halfway through our lunch, it was clear to me that this was someone who should be involved with TNR. We continued to talk, and a few weeks later, I introduced him to Larry Grafstein, the chairman of our ownership group, who felt the same way. The end result is the announcement you are reading now."

Hughes, who served as the director of online organizing for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, said that the biweekly magazine will also retain its ideology.

"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."

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