The New Republic is looking to make the most out of what’s poised to be a captivating election cycle.
With a new publisher in Kerrie Gillis, the magazine’s third in as many years, the magazine is eager to capitalize on its liberal history. Gillis comes from that end of the political spectrum, having spent almost 30 years at The New York Times in various marketing and ad roles but was most recently chief revenue and operating officer at The Village Voice, which closed last year after 63 years in operation.
“The New Republic has served as the premier testing ground for the revival of American liberalism, and it’s uniquely positioned to bring American liberal politics back to the same sort of modernizing mission as when it launched more than a century ago,” Gillis said.
It seems that The New Republic needs some modernizing of its own. While current editor in chief and chairman Win McCormack wasn’t made available for comment, a spokeswoman said print subscriptions are about 40,000 and monthly unique visitors average 1.8 million, both “similar” to year-ago numbers. However, data from analytics firm Comscore show that unique visits hit 457,000 last month, down from 1.2 million in January 2018.
Likely in an effort to boost readership, at least online, Gillis said the publication will be “ramping up political coverage” and working to give online readers “new ways to experiment and engage with our content.”
The first way she’s aiming to do that is through efforts in audio and podcasts. The New Republic actually has two podcasts, one focused on politics and one on movies, but both look to have been totally dormant since 2017.
Gillis is also hoping to increase advertising and ink marketing partnerships that will get The New Republic in front of new audiences and further engage current readers.
“These are readers who will appreciate that The New Republic should reclaim its rightful place as the central arbiter of political thinking on the liberal left,” Gillis added.
This echoes the tone of McCormack’s editor’s letter for the March issue, in which he argued that his magazine “invented modern American liberalism.”
But lefty street cred doesn’t seem like a total solution for the magazine, which has had its share of change in recent years. Gillis succeeds Rachel Rosenfelt, who spent less than a year as vice president and publisher. She, in turn, replaced Hamilton Fish, who came to The New Republic in early 2016 and resigned late the following year amid a number of misconduct claims by female employees.
The most recent publisher change also comes six months after McCormack said a search was underway to replace J.J. Gould, who became editor in chief in 2017, was promoted to president last year and then abruptly resigned a few months later. McCormack has only owned the magazine for three years, buying it in February 2016 from Chris Hughes. A co-founder of Facebook, Hughes had purchased the title in 2012 and attempted an overhaul of its format, which caused a mass resignation of staff, including its chief executive officer.
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