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Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is the new owner of the New Republic, the 98-year-old liberal magazine that, like many of its print brethren, has struggled financially in an increasinlgy online world.
The New York Times reports that Hughes, who left Facebook to serve as social media director for Barack Obama in 2008, bought a majority stake in the company in a deal announced Friday. The 28-year-old will assume the role of both publisher and editor-in-chief. Richard Just, the magazine's current editor, will remain in his position overseeing the editorial side of the publication, and former editor-in-chief Marty Peretz will serve on the advisory board.
In a letter to TNR readers posted on its website Friday, Hughes touted the magazine’s history of bringing "sufficient enlightenment to the problems of the nation" and discussed his future plans for the iconic publication:
The Web has introduced a competitive, and some might argue hostile, landscape for long, in-depth, resource-intensive journalism. But as we’ve seen with the rise of tablets and mobile reading devices, it is an ever-shifting landscape—one that I believe now offers opportunities to reinvigorate the forms of journalism that examine the challenges of our time in all their complexity. Although the method of delivery of important ideas has undergone drastic change over the past 15 years, the hunger for them has not dissipated.
In an interview with the Times, Hughes said that his decision to purchase the nearly century-old magazine was due in part to his interest in "the future of high-quality long-form journalism." He added that he hoped to "expand the amount of rigorous reporting and solid analysis" that the magazine produces, comments that suggest that TNR will look to beef up its relatively small staff.
While he hopes to make the magazine profitable, Hughes said that isn't his ultimate goal. "I’m investing and taking control of the New Republic because of my belief in its mission, not to make it the next Facebook," he said.