Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
With VuHaus, public music stations hope collaboration will bring in more listeners (and money) online
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Jan. 11, 2016, 10:53 a.m.
Business Models
LINK: medium.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   January 11, 2016

The New Republic “needs a new vision that only a new owner can bring,” Chris Hughes, the 32-year-old Facebook co-founder who acquired the 102-year-old magazine in 2012, wrote in a memo (posted to Medium) on Monday.

“I will be the first to admit that when I took on this challenge nearly four years ago, I underestimated the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today’s quickly evolving climate…” Hughes wrote. “The unanswered question for The New Republic remains: can it find a sustainable business model that will power its journalism in the decades to come?”

It’s not the first time Hughes has used the silver-bullet metaphor. “I wish I had a magic silver bullet that no one else in the media world has thought of,” he told WWD in 2012 shortly after acquiring the magazine. “We don’t. It’s going to be a long game.”

He cited sites like BuzzFeed, ProPublica, and Vox as “bright spots,” and added, “This next chapter could take many forms. Perhaps it should be run as part of a larger digital media company, as a center-left institute of ideas, or by another passionate individual willing to invest in its future. There are many possibilities.”

In December 2014, Hughes announced that he was restructuring The New Republic as “a vertically integrated media company.” That led to a big round of staff resignations: Editor Franklin Foer, literary editor Leon Wieseltier, and nearly 30 other employees chose to leave. Hughes also moved the magazine’s headquarters from Washington, D.C., to New York and cut the number of print issues published each year in half, from 20 to 10.

The magazine’s current masthead lists 54 employees including Hughes.

The New Republic received 2.3 million unique visitors in November, less than half the traffic it got before the resignations, according to comScore via The Wall Street Journal.

An unidentified source told the Journal that Hughes is already in preliminary talks and has “come to believe that a non-profit structure may ultimately be the best solution for the magazine.” Back in 2013, Hughes said, “I think it’s our challenge to ourselves, and to the world, to prove we can find a profitable model.”

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
With VuHaus, public music stations hope collaboration will bring in more listeners (and money) online
“NPR’s capacity is really in news and the spoken word, and it’s very active on the cultural side, but not organized around music. There was a sense we either needed to work with each other or have a hard time competing at all.”
Could email newsletters be a partial solution to magazine companies’ problems? (Toronto Life thinks so)
Following the success of Twelve Thirty Six, Toronto Life is looking more closely at email newsletters as standalone products.
Coda Story, focused on deep dives around single themes, is now tackling a “post-truth” Eurasia
The platform is focusing on two major themes — disinformation campaigns in Eurasia and the migrant crisis in Germany — and focusing on larger character-driven narratives.