Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes buys New Republic: In a letter to readers, Hughes says he believes in reporting:
It seems that today too many media institutions chase superficial metrics of online virality at the expense of investing in rigorous reporting and analysis of the most important stories of our time. When few people are investing in media institutions with such bold aims as “enlightenment to the problems of the nation,” I believe we must.
Hughes left Facebook in 2007 to coordinate new-media efforts for Barack Obama‘s first presidential campaign. Richard Just will continue to serve as the editor of the magazine. Brian Stelter and Michael de la Merced report that Hughes’ financial commitment may afford the magazine “an opportunity to hire more writers and editors — an important step for a publication with a total head count of 29.” Hughes thinks the magazine “can be profitable,” he tells NPR, “though it’s ‘not going to be the next Facebook.’”
>>The National Association of Black Journalists finished 2011 with a budget surplus, Richard Prince reports. Unity, the Asian American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association also were positive at year’s end.
>> NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company, was tracking 181 million blogs by the end of 2011. Bloggers, it writes, “are active across social media: they’re twice as likely to post/comment on consumer-generated video sites like YouTube, and nearly three times more likely to post in Message Boards/Forums within the last month.”
>>Politico reports that a FOIA request shows that the White House was heavily involved in handling the fallout from the Shirley Sherrod incident.
>> “If anyone’s got time to sit out there and nitpick, I kind of feel sorry for them. Get a life”: Marilyn Hagerty, who wrote that review of a North Dakota Olive Garden that made its way around the Internet yesterday, speaks with Camille Dodero. The Grand Forks Herald reports that Hagerty’s piece “received more than 230,000 views as of Thursday evening. In comparison, the Herald’s second most-read story was about the Fighting Sioux nickname, with 5,500 views.”