A shake-up has occurred at the liberal The New Republic magazine as the top two editors, Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, have quit, and the publication’s new owner has announced that magazine will be moved to New York City.
The 100-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based left-wing magazine was bought by billionaire co-founder of Facebook Chris Hughes in 2012. Since his purchase, Hughes has been attempting to turn the tottering magazine around into a successful, money-making enterprise.
Executive editor Franklin Foer and literary editor Leon Wieseltier have been resistant to Hughes’ changes, though, and this week clashes seem to have come to a head.
Announcing his departure, Foer, who has been editor since 2006, said he is moving on to “finish a book” he has been writing.
Wieseltier, the literary editor for 30 years, revealed his own distaste for the new owner’s changes at the magazine’s recent 100-year anniversary gala. It is reported that he read a poem by Walt Whitman at the event in what many assumed was a veiled slap at the new owner.
Hughes, though, wasted no time in making even more major changes. Along with his announcement of the changes in editorship, he immediately cut the publication’s print schedule from 20 to 10 issues annually. He also announced that the magazine’s editorial offices will move to New York City.
The new owner also installed Gabriel Snyder, a former Bloomberg Media editor, as the magazine’s new chief editor.
Hughes then announced a staff reduction. “Given the frequency reduction, we will also be making some changes to staff structure,” he said. “This is not a decision we make lightly, but we believe this restructuring is critical to the long-term success of the company. We will be holding an all-hands meeting tomorrow to help answer any questions or concerns you may have.”
Hughes has already made his presence felt by trying to guide the magazine into a multi-media company instead of just a print property, a move that has made many insiders wary.
Needless to say, neither Foer nor Wieseltier were supportive of the plans for modernization.
In his farewell address, Foer noted that he and Hughes were not on the same page and that “their plans and my own vision for TNR meaningfully diverge.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.