No one could have possibly seen this coming, except, you know, every single observer who saw it coming:
The New Republic, the century-old magazine that was rocked a year ago by the mass exodus of its staff following an effort by its owner to make it more digitally focused, is being put up for sale.
Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook who purchased a majority stake in the struggling title in 2012, said in a staff memo Monday that he had underestimated “the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today’s quickly evolving climate,” and would seek to find a new owner.
“After investing a great deal of time, energy, and over $20 million, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for new leadership and vision at The New Republic,” the memo read.
Translation: I took a still-important liberal opinion magazine and managed to turn it into a Salon-clone that managed to lose even more money than Salon.
“Immediately following the tumult, the magazine’s Web traffic declined by more than 50%, according to comScore Inc., and hasn’t risen much in the last year. In November, the site attracted 2.3 million unique visitors, down 38% from the same month a year earlier.”
Publishing an opinion magazine is an expensive, generally money-losing proposition. William F. Buckley, Jr. kept National Review afloat thanks to regular reader fundraising solicitations and money from his own pocket. This is why we’re willing to give NRO a lot of slack when they keep pushing their wine club and yearly cruises. (This path is of course open to The New Republic, except who on earth would want to be trapped on a boat for two weeks with current TNR writers?)
The New Republic used to fill an important role as a voice of liberal hetrodoxy, despite the magazine’s general decline over the years. After the shakeup, it no longer fulfilled any important role whatsoever except as a cautionary example of what not to do and a method of sucking money from Chris Hughes’ pockets.
Now let’s see if Hughes can find another clueless liberal millionaire to keep pouring money down the rathole…