‘TNR’ brings back Franklin Foer as editor, plans to double staff

'The New Republic,' now owned by Chris Hughes, gets a New York office. ()
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The New Republic continues to take shape under Chris Hughes, the 28-year-old Facebook co-founder who bought the venerable Beltway title in March.

But as much as Hughes is expected to usher the magazine into the digital future, he's also brought back a part of its recent past: Franklin Foer has returned as editor, displacing TNR veteran Richard Just, who had taken over following Foer's departure in 2010.

The move is surprising, as HuffPost's Michael Calderone notes, "considering that Just is viewed internally as instrumental in helping facilitate Hughes' purchase of the esteemed, yet money-losing, 98-year-old magazine of American liberalism."

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And yet given Foer's stature both in Washington and New York media circles, it makes sense; Hughes' mandate, he has said, is to raise TNR's profile and, according to Media Decoder, which broke the news Sunday, "guide The New Republic out of the category Hughes' called 'little magazines' in Washington like The National Review and into a category that includes magazines he sees as more natural competitors, like The New Yorker, the Economist and New York Magazine."

To that effect, Hughes plans to double the magazine's staff from 15 to 30 with a recruitment focus on "rising stars who have been writing for publications like The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine." As Capital first reported last week, TNR is also opening up a New York office.

In an Adweek interview published this morning, Hughes addressed the challenge of building "a sustainable business model" around an august institution like TNR.

"You look at The Atlantic, The Economist—there are traditional print models that are flourishing," he said. "I feel like there’s a hunger out there for big-idea journalism. Book sales are at an all-time high. The magazines I’m talking about, all their print numbers are up. Not to overstate it—it’s a small order of people—but I think the conventional wisdom that young people don’t want to read is a little misplaced."

In other news...

Rupert Murdoch denies that News Corp. is eyeing a spin-off of its British papers. [Reuters]

Vanity Fair's Rebekah Brooks profile is headed for the big screen. [The Telegraph]

The Atavist has raised $1.5 million in seed money from an impressive array of backers. [The New York Times]

More on the newsweekly cover wars. [The New York Times]

Facebook is still courting the media business. [Adweek]

The Financial Times expects digital subs to outnumber those in print by year's end. [The Next Web]

Esquire to publish men's fiction e-books. [NYT/Media Decoder]