Ad Nauseum: Why the New Republic Is – No Surprise – for Sale

As the hardworking staff has noted on numerous occasions, Chris Hughes, boy publisher of The Nude – sorry, New – Republic, hasn’t seen an inside-page ad in maybe 18 months. from all appearances, the Richie Rich of opinion journalism was floating the whole kit and caboodle himself.

And so this headline, via the Wall Street Journal, was inevitable.

New Republic Owner Chris Hughes Puts Magazine Up For Sale

Facebook co-founder, who purchased the title in 2012, says magazine needs a new business model

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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.

(Are those vultures lined up in that photo? You’d like to think so.)

Hughes says he’s dumped $20 million into the Incredible Shrinking Magazine (it’s down to 10 issues a year), with dismal results. Beyond the ad-free zone of its print edition, the magazine’s website is increasingly a Potemkin village, with traffic in recent months down 38% from the previous year.

So, to recap: Chris Hughes took a magazine that lost relatively small amounts of money each year and turned it into a money pit of epic proportions – not to mention a shadow of its former self editorially.

It’s that old joke all over: How do you make $20 million in the magazine business? Start with $40 million.

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