The New Republic launches redesign

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The journalism in these pages will strive to be free of party ideology or partisan bias,” New Republic owner and Editor-in-Chief Chris Hughes writes in a letter reintroducing the 98-year-old magazine, whose redesign officially launches Monday.

Hughes “really thinks of [the magazine] as a start-up,” New Republic Editor Franklin Foer tells Christine Haughney, who covers the roll-out, which includes a cover story interview of President Obama by Hughes and Foer.

The Facebook co-founder “gently led the twice-a-month magazine out of its college newspaper culture in which editors pulled all-nighters,” Haughney writes, “and put in place a far more organized system in which articles are planned weeks in advance.” He’s added women writers, too, but “acknowledged that he was slower in transforming the magazine’s business side.”

Since he bought the magazine, subscriptions have grown to 44,177, from 34,000 since March, he said. (In 1993, at the magazine’s peak, the circulation was 102,392, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.) Newsstand sales have increased by 68 percent, to an average of 1,738 copies sold for the last five issues, from 1,034 copies an issue in 2011.

“It is going to take us a couple years, but profitability is our goal,” Hughes told Haughney.

Politico’s Dylan Byers finds the redesign “cold, slighly uninviting,” he writes. “‘The New Yorker of Washington, D.C.” this is not — not yet, anyway. There’s very little reporting. There are no dispatches. No “Letters from…” anywhere. … Maybe there will be room for those sorts of pieces when there isn’t an interview with the President of the United States to compete with.”

Jack Shafer seemed to like the relaunched TNR more:

Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa appreciated the site’s tech tools.

Hughes told ABC News, “we have to have a website where you can listen to our content, where you can engage in social conversations with it.”

Previously: Obama: ‘One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates’ | New Republic’s got a new owner | Washington City Paper Editor Mike Schaffer leaves for The New Republic

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  • buckguy

    A non-partisan opinion mag. No original reporting. He’s completed the destruction of what once a great magazine that began in earnest when Andrew Sullivan helmed it.Starting out with an op-ed by Michael Kinsley (Shafer’s old boss) who is no longer heralded as a genius (and never was one) doesn’t help. Kinsley’s terms as editor showed a willingness to give in to Marty Peretz beyond anything that Rick Hertzberg ever allowed.

  • AndrewSpearin

    This website marks a step forward for editorial web design. The constraints of mobile/tablet have reached the higher resolutions, which allows for a more focused user experience. This removes some of the complexity that many users are accustomed to, which I have read as criticism. As Jack suggests, give it time, and don’t be surprised when other publications move in this direction.