As the Wall Street Journal reports, New Republic owner Chris Hughes has sold the 101-year-old opinion journal to Win McCormack, publisher and editor-in-chief of Tin House, a journal based in Portland, Ore.
“The New Republic was founded in 1914 as the organ of a modernized liberalism and then-dominant Progressive Movement, and has remained true to its founding principles, under all its multiple owners, ever since,” McCormack said in a statement obtained by the Wall Street Journal. “We intend to continue in that same tradition.” McCormack is hiring Hamilton Fish, a former publisher of the Nation, to guide the magazine as publisher.
Noah McCormack, son of Win, announced the move on Twitter:
News personal and media: The New Republic is now in McCormack ownership, led by my father Win, longtime publisher and EIC of Tin House.
— Noah McCormack (@noahmccormack) February 26, 2016
The transaction marks a quick turnaround for Hughes. He bought the New Republic in 2012, talked a big game about investing in journalism; invested in journalism, hiring editor Frank Foer, new staffers and shelling out for design upgrades on the Web and print fronts; forced Foer’s ouster and that of literary editor Leon Wieseltier; watched as the editorial core of the magazine fled; and then, just last month, announced he’d be selling the whole shebang.
Six weeks later, a new era begins.
Just what the turnover means will take months and months to determine. As this blog reported weeks ago, whoever took over the magazine from Hughes would face many uncomfortable decisions about personnel, real estate and other resources. That’s because Hughes has saddled the publication with a double-headed, spendy presence in New York and Washington, plus a heavy and unsustainable investment in design and other frivolities that departed from the magazine’s history of running on tight budgets.
“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,” said Hughes back in January.
McCormack’s Tin House is a quarterly journal that debuted in 1999; the outfit publishes books as well. As Willamette Week notes, McCormack himself is Oregon’s leading Democratic donor. He appears to have found a new destination for his donations. Though Hughes attempted to bring the always-money-losing New Republic into profitability, he showed that its business model is subsidies from a generous and patient owner.
More to come.