Today we are launching The New Republic’s company blog, New Republic Home News. From time to time, we will use this space to give readers a sense of what’s going on inside the company. We’ll look to celebrate successes, share lessons learned, and give readers a better sense of what decisions we’re making and why.
It’s been about a year and a half since I took over The New Republic1, and we’ve been busy. We have doubled our staff, redesigned our website and print magazine, launched a new tablet app, and opened a New York office to complement our traditional headquarters in Washington.
All of these changes have sought to increase the amount of first-rate journalism we produce and amplify it to all corners of the globe. Since we relaunched in January, we’ve shined a light on the horrors of American day care, explained the crisis plaguing big corporate law firms, uncovered unseemly details about the leadership of Clinton Inc., and explored the biological implications of loneliness on our bodies.
Underscoring our belief that first-rate journalism can make for good business, our numbers have shown solid improvement. Our circulation base grew by 20 percent in 2012 and is on track to grow by another 20 percent in 2013. Our web traffic has climbed from 800,000 monthly unique readers in February 2012 to an average of 2.4 million unique monthly readers over the past three months. Meanwhile our monthly advertising revenue has doubled since our transition, with half of it coming from our digital products.
Next year will be the 100th anniversary of The New Republic and an important time to celebrate this institution’s history and plan for its future. When I began at The New Republic, I shared the widespread worry that the web is the enemy of the style of writing and thinking that we practice. But one of the counterintuitive surprises of the web is that it actually rewards quality, thought-provoking writing. It rewards cat videos and coy listicles too, but these do not replace the desire for good journalism.
Over the course of the coming year, we plan to significantly grow our digital presence, improve the reading and sharing experience, and create a compelling native mobile app.
As we pursue these goals, we’ll continue to grow our operations. Our web and mobile development team will expand over the next few months with the addition of front-end engineers and application developers. Our editorial team will continue to experiment with new forms of web journalism, and we’ll add several people in Washington and New York who have experience and interest in building online traffic through substantive writing about politics and culture. And finally, we’ll bolster our advertising team with more digitally savvy salespeople and creative marketing managers.
There is no doubt this is a time of rapid and sometimes scary evolution for media companies that specialize in quality writing. But in the midst of so much change, we see opportunity to take the best of our heritage and combine it with a digital sensibility that recognizes that smart journalism is stronger when it is accessible and enjoyable.
Thank you for continuing to read and support us. If you are interested in joining our team, check out the descriptions for the positions we are currently hiring for. And bookmark this page (newrepublic.com/tags/home-news) to come back for ongoing updates on our work and progress.
A Letter to The New Republic Readers from Chris Hughes - March 9, 2012