The New Republic is bouncing back. The 103-year-old magazine, which maintains a steady digital presence and publishes in print 10 times a year, announced a slew of new hires as part of an ongoing effort to get back to its roots and adapt after a tumultuous period under former owner Chris Hughes.
“The interest in politics among the New Republic audience is as high as I’ve ever seen in my lifetime,” editor Bates told WWD. “I think we’ve seen a real need and desire for the kind of journalism that The New Republic has traditionally done, and there’s a real opening there to provide people with political and cultural analysis that helps them make sense of the world right now.”
Bates, a former executive editor of Rolling Stone, came aboard the New Republic a year ago, not long after Win McCormack purchased the publication from Hughes, a Facebook multimillionaire who bought the magazine in 2012. But owning the venerated progressive publication proved difficult for Hughes: the staff revolted and very publicly resigned when he tried to turn the high-minded magazine into a “vertically integrated digital media company.” McCormack, a deep-pocketed liberal activist and publisher of the literary magazine Tin House, bought the New Republic last year and installed Hamilton Fish, former publisher of The Nation, as the publisher.
“I think the minute that we were under new ownership and new leadership, I felt very much that people were rooting for us again,” Bates said, citing Fish and McCormack’s literary bonafides.
The hires that the New Republic revealed on Thursday have similarly have drawn from the world of progressive, highbrow publications.
Mindy Kay Bricker, who was named digital director, comes to the New Republic from Foreign Policy, where she was the executive editor of the print magazine, and is a former editor in chief of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and was the online managing editor of World Affairs.
Moira Donegan, previously the associate editor of the literary and cultural journal N+1, will be the assistant editor for cultural coverage at TNR. The magazine hired two new staff writers: Emily Atkin, who will cover climate change and environmental policy, and Clio Chang, a reporter-researcher at TNR who has been promoted to cover domestic politics and policy.
The New Republic also announced that, as part of a plan to increases the “stable regular voices,” it is adding two new critics: Rachel Syme, a highly regarded freelance writer and perfume aficionado, will write a column about TV, and New York magazine book critic and veteran culture editor Christian Lorentzen will write about film.
“Rebuilding the New Republic is really more than an exercise in nostalgia,” Bates said. “We’re really taking a look at how can we take what’s been in the best traditions of the New Republic and repurpose it for the present day.”