The shakeup at the top of the masthead at The New Republic is reverberating all through the once-high-flying magazine’s staff as more than a dozen senior editors and a longer list of contributing editors quit on Friday following the resignation of editor Franklin Foer and literary editor Leon Wieseltier.
Contributing editor Ryan Lizza, a writer for the New Yorker, tweeted a list of the staffers who followed Foer and Wieseltier to the door.
The massive upheaval was touched off by the decision of TNR’s owner, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, and his new CEO, former Yahoo News executive Guy Vidra, to change the mission of the company from a magazine-focused institution to a digital media company with an expanded Manhattan office.
Staffers met at Frank Foer’s house in D.C. last night for what they called a “wake” for the magazine. At the meeting, people said they would support Foer by tendering their resignations.
By Friday afternoon, the list of staffers and contributing editors tendering their resignations grew, with more than 20 contributing editors severing ties with the magazine.
In a statement e-mailed to reporters, Hughes said he was “saddened” by the resignations and wished the departing staffers well. “This is a time of transition, but I am excited to work with our team – both new and old alike – as we pave a new way forward,” it read. “The singular importance of The New Republic as an institution can and will be preserved, because it’s bigger than any one of us.”
Former senior editor Julia Ioffe addressed the debacle in a Facebook posting: “The narrative you’re going to see Chris and Guy put out there is that I and the rest of my colleagues who quit today were dinosaurs, who think that the Internet is scary and that Buzzfeed is a slur. Don’t believe them,” she wrote. “We’re not afraid of change. We have always embraced it.”
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