Today I want to address the recent changes at The New Republic on our own pages. It is important to me to outline the vision for this critically important institution.
I joined The New Republic as Chief Executive Officer in mid-October after lengthy discussions with our owner, Chris Hughes. We both agreed that we wanted to take the writing, the ideas, the argument, the heterodoxy that have always been at the heart of The New Republic, and find it a broader audience.
I started my career in journalism. My first job out of college was as a junior editor for a small publication in Dublin, Ireland. When I moved back to the United States, I worked as a copy editor for a company many do not remember today called Bridge News. At the time, Bridge was one of the largest financial news providers in the world but was quickly displaced by a faster moving competitor, Bloomberg. It was the first of many times in my career when I witnessed a traditional media outlet upended by a new competitor on the landscape.
My career has provided me with the privilege of working with some of the world’s best publishers. I have sat beside talented writers and editors and share their dedication to informing society and impacting the world through analysis and insight.
I also saw those newsrooms suffer through round after round of layoffs. I saw resources cut. I heard prognostication that the world of publishing was nearing its end. Only one or two of us will remain, many said.
In the last few years, however, we’ve seen publishers old and new defy those predictions. The most exciting part of the successes has been that they’ve been achieved through an array of different strategies—all of which use technology in the service of journalism—leading to more distribution and creative ways of telling stories made possible only through digital means. These publishers are growing and finding new audiences, and, while The New Republic is a very unique place, we can learn from them.
I firmly believe that those who say that this publication was only ever meant to reach a small audience are wrong. They have ignored the fact that it is easier than ever to reach an enormous audience. Maybe they don’t believe that many intelligent, intellectually curious people exist. But they do. They exist and they have in their pockets, their homes and their workplace the means to access our publication in a matter of seconds.
The New Republic has always been a place where contrarian views were embraced and ideas with impact flourished. These pages prodded our government to enter World War I, voiced opposition to the Vietnam War, and supported intervention in Bosnia. The magazine has published an unparalleled back of the book for decades and always sought to provide depth of ideas and high-mindedness to our society and our world. Personally, the magazine helped shape my perspectives on foreign policy and America’s interventionist role in the world—a view I continue to hold.
When I decided to take on this role, I knew it would mean that many would not like what was to come—change. But change does not mean discarding your principles and vision. More than ever, as the media becomes an increasingly crowded and noisy space, there is a hunger for depth of ideas.
We will provide that depth but we will begin to tell our stories more effectively in other ways. When we spend the time and energy to do a longform piece, we will create formats for our readers to engage with that information outside of print. We will use data to let readers immerse themselves in that story. We will use imagery and video to evoke a reaction as visceral as only those mediums can bring. We will develop tools to let you tailor the types of stories you read depending on the time of day or where you may be.
Over the coming months we will add to our masthead and bring on a great and diverse set of writers and editors. We will also invest in product managers, engineers, designers, data visualization and multimedia editors. We will build a platform that lets us create unique and compelling experiences on our web site and on mobile platforms, as well as the means to reach audiences outside our walls.
You can expect a lot of change at The New Republic. We are incredibly excited at the possibilities ahead for this institution. What will not change is our dedication to the ideals that underpin our institution—experimentation, opinion, argument, ideas, and quality.
Chief Executive Officer
The New Republic