‘The New Republic, it turned out, was far removed from the Silicon Valley mind-set’


Photograph by Thomas Hawk

From The New York Times:

The New Republic, it turned out, was far removed from the Silicon Valley mind-set that Mr. Hughes and his chief executive, Guy Vidra, espoused. The magazine was partly conceived in Theodore Roosevelt’s living room and, since its founding in 1914, has featured writers including Virginia Woolf and Philip Roth. It is famed for its intellectual rigor and its left-leaning political views, and has a reputation as an incubator for talented young writers and editors.

At a meeting not long after he joined in 2014, Mr. Vidra, using a profanity, told the magazine’s staff that he wanted to break stuff, a phrase common in the tech industry that many present felt was incongruous. Journalism was, to him, content, a view that immediately put him at odds with the literary-minded staff. The magazine’s history, he said later, was a “competitive advantage” to be “leveraged.”

Despite many changes in the last year and more than a dozen new hires, the magazine still does not make a profit, according to three people with knowledge of its finances. The atmosphere at its offices in Manhattan’s Union Square on Monday was unsettled, according to former staff members, and an all-hands meeting Monday morning was described as tense.

Mr. Chait said that, to him, The New Republic was fundamentally not a business proposition. “A business is something that is trying to make money,” he said. “If you’re in a town and you’re trying to sell hamburgers, and everyone wants pizza, you’d switch to pizza. But The New Republic believes in hamburgers. We think you need hamburgers, and we will continue to make hamburgers and try and persuade you to eat them.”

“The New Republic Is for Sale Again”, Ravi Somaiya, The New York Times