Just a year after major shakeups led to the mass exodus of most of its staff, Chris Hughes said Monday he is selling The New Republic.
Hughes, a Facebook co-founder who bought the flagship liberal magazine in 2012, championed efforts to retool the century-old publication into a digital media company, a shift that drove nearly all of its masthead to resign in protest.
“After investing a great deal of time, energy, and over $20 million, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for new leadership and vision at The New Republic,” Hughes wrote in a memo to staff. “I underestimated the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today’s quickly evolving climate.”
An unnamed source told The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story, that Hughes has already been in talks with possible buyers, among them digital startups and philanthropic groups.
Hughes looked to recreate the venerable magazine as a “vertically integrated digital media company,” slashing its print publication schedule from 20 to 10 issues a year, and moved the company from D.C. to New York.
Top editor Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, the 31-year veteran literary editor of the magazine, were the first to resign over clashes with Hughes. One day later, dozens of longtime editors and senior writers asked Hughes to remove their names from TNR’s masthead.