A closely watched rebirth for 'The New Republic'
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Today's the day of The New Republic's much-anticipated relaunch in print and online under the ownership of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and the revived editorship of Franklin Foer.
The New York Times landed the big curtain-raising exclusive:
Mr. Foer said that Mr. Hughes had energized the magazine. “He really thinks of it as a start-up, and that’s exhilarating,” he said. On Monday, readers will be able to see the fruits of Mr. Hughes’s investment for the first time when The New Republic unveils its redesigned print magazine, Web site and app.
The magazine, which has long been the journalism equivalent of high-fiber pasta, even for media-hungry political devotees, embraces a broader mix of political reporting and what Mr. Hughes described as “the high and low in the artistic world.”
Mr. Hughes said that while the magazine would continue to have arts critics review subjects like books and visual arts, he is just as interested in covering topics like electronica and the HBO series “Girls.”
Meanwhile, Politico's Dylan Byers has a more critical take:
It's a departure from the past, both in print and online. Stuffed inside your mailbox, it initially feels like another issue of Smithsonian. The gloss is thick. The photograph of Obama is uninspired. The logo, previewed weeks ago, feels devoid of historical import or editorial purpose. (The font, Antenna, is also used by Golf Digest and The Hollywood Reporter; Barnett recently said he wanted the logo to leave readers with the impression that TNR is "a must-read brand.") One pines for the old ship.
Redesigns are a time for innovation -- I think of Bloomberg Businessweek, which looks unlike any other general interest magazine. In print, TNR feels too similar to New York Magazine, only not as inventive and with far less advertising (which is a problem, even for deep pockets). Online, it feels too similar to Quartz, the online business news site launched by The Atlantic last year. In other words, there's nothing unexpected. It just feels cold, slighly uninviting. There's no aesthetic.
Hughes will fete the relaunch with a party tonight at his Soho apartment. Scroll down to read the letter he emailed to readers this past weekend.
(Disclosure: I'm currently working on a freelance piece for newrepublic.com.)
In other news...
Talk of the buyouts was conspicuously absent from TNR's future-of-media panel featuring executive editor Jill Abramson last Thursday, but Abramson took the opportunity to defend the Times' digital subscription strategy. [W.W.D.]
Time Inc. is bracing for layoffs this week. [AllThingsD]
Cory Booker vs. The Star-Ledger. [Storify/Lisa Fleisher]
More than 150 small-town papers are vying to be on a proposed NBC reality show. [NYT/Media Decoder]
Gabe Sherman is getting trolled by people who don't like that he's reporting on Roger Ailes and Fox News. [WaPo/Erik Wemple]
Quote of the day...
The Times Co., by that measure, is an unusual entity. Despite its desire for profitability, once you peel away at all that capitalist intent, it’s clear the genetic imperative, its stated goal, is to just create good journalism, profitable or not.
I've never HAD to read The New Republic, a fact I confirmed during 20 adult, literate years. I hope that changes. nyti.ms/10WS28q— Robert MacMillan (@bobbymacReports) January 28, 2013
The new NewRepublic site reminds a bit of Verge/Polygon. Not sure its image fits it, but definitely pushing envelope. newrepublic.com— Rafat Ali (@rafat) January 28, 2013
Bob Costas talks with Howard Kurtz about the controversy over his gun control remarks:
From our inbox...
Here's Hughes letter about the new TNR:
Dear New Republic reader,
You signed up to get an early look at The New Republic’s redesign, and I’m happy to announce that you can check it out this morning, a day before we promote it to the rest of the world.
For our relaunch, our editor Franklin Foer and I interviewed President Obama in the Oval Office to discuss the challenges he faces in his second term. The President shared his impatience with Republicans along with thoughts on the polarized media environment, the filibuster, gerrymandering, and even college football.
Read the interview with the President and check out our new website now.
We will have more details on all the new web and tablet functionality in the days to come. Thanks for all your support as we reimagine this important publication for the 21st-century.
Hope you are enjoying your weekend,