Mass Resignations, Frequency Reduction at The New Republic
More than 30 editors quit, next issue cancelled.
Weeks after its 100th anniversary issue and an elaborate gala of Washington elites, The New Republic made major changes, cutting its frequency in half, naming a new lead editor and announcing an impending move from Washington, D.C. to New York.
Editor Franklin Foer, at the helm since the magazine was bought and rebooted under Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes in 2012, informed staff of his departure, citing differences with management over their respective "vision[s] for TNR."
Leon Wieseltier, a top lieutenant and the magazine's literary editor, is also leaving.
CEO Guy Vidra, who left Yahoo! to join TNR in September, confirmed the moves in a memo later in the day. He announced that Gabriel Snyder, who's held editorial leadership roles with Bloomberg News, Atlantic Media's The Wire and Gawker, would be replacing Foer.
"As we move forward under Gabriel's leadership, we are re-imagining The New Republic as a vertically integrated digital media company," Vidra says in the memo. "Gabriel is ideally suited to bridge traditional journalism and digital media."
Along with the editorial changes, Vidra announced that the brand would cut its yearly print frequency from 20 issues to 10, and that "changes to staff structure" would follow as a result.
He also officially stated that the magazine would be moving to a "newly redesigned, expanded office in New York's Union Square."
TNR staffers reacted to the news with outrage on social media and, reportedly, in the newsroom. Nearly 30 editors are said to have resigned.
BREAKING: Mass resignations just submitted at @TNR
Full list… pic.twitter.com/SdM0VPQ8Et
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) December 5, 2014
The news has been met with harsh criticism from watchdogs across the industry. With no shortage of fresh insider sources, Hughes and Vidra have been painted as out-of-touch Silicon Valley types with little interest in journalism.
Chris Hughes issued a series of tweets Friday morning on the mass exodus.
Read Vidra's full memo below:
To All Staff,
I want to share some news about forthcoming changes at The New Republic.
As you've heard, Frank Foer is leaving the company. We are excited to announce that Gabriel Snyder will assume the role of Editor-in-Chief. In addition, Leon Wieseltier will be moving on.
In his time here, Frank has led a meaningful expansion of our team, has done a terrific job advancing the mission of our storied institution, and has continued to insert The New Republic's voice into the national discourse. We wish him nothing but the best and are very grateful for all he's done.
As we move forward under Gabriel's leadership, we are re-imagining The New Republic as a vertically integrated digital media company. Gabriel is ideally suited to bridge traditional journalism and digital media. He is committed – as am I – to The New Republic's mission of impact, influence and persuasion, but understands that fulfilling that mission in today's media landscape requires new forms. He truly reflects the "straddle generation" of journalists and editors who remain deeply rooted in the qualities of traditional journalism – having worked with brands such as the New York Observer and The Atlantic – but also understands what it takes to create content that will travel across all platforms. We believe he is the right person to help us to maintain the core DNA of The New Republic, while propelling us forward to the 21st century.
Leon has made an unsurpassed contribution to The New Republic over the last 30 years, and the qualities that he represents are the beating heart of this brand. He is quite frankly an institution unto himself whose indelible mark on this place will never go away.
As we restructure The New Republic, we will be making significant investments in creating a more effective and efficient newsroom as well as improved products across all platforms. This will require a recalibration of our resources in order to deliver the best product possible. In order to do so, we've made the decision to reduce the frequency of our print publication from 20 to 10 issues a year and will be making improvements to the magazine itself.
Given the frequency reduction, we will also be making some changes to staff structure. This is not a decision we make lightly, but we believe this restructuring is critical to the long-term success of the company. We will be holding an all-hands meeting tomorrow to help answer any questions or concerns you may have.
And lastly – as some of you may know – we will be moving to a newly re-designed, expanded office in New York's Union Square. New York was the original home of The New Republic, and we're thrilled to further expand our presence here.
These are exciting times for our company which will demand change. We are committed to the roots of this magazine – an experiment in opinion to help address the challenges of our time. We can only do this together.