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'New Republic,' In Major Change, Cuts Publishing Schedule; Top Editor Out

The New Republic, the influential, century-old publication that during the Clinton presidency was called the in-flight magazine of Air Force One, announced today a slew of changes and cuts. Its editor, Franklin Foer, and longtime literary editor Leon Wieseltier both announced they were leaving the magazine.

NPR's David Folkenflik is reporting on the news for our Newscast unit. Here's what he said:

"Perhaps now it should be called the New New Republic. The magazine will drop from 20 issues a year to 10, call itself a digital media company and move its headquarters from Washington, D.C., to New York City. ... Foer wrote in a memo that his vision for the magazine diverged sharply from that of owner Chris Hughes, who earlier made a fortune as one of the first employees at Facebook. ...

"The liberal magazine has long been a source of original reporting and analysis on politics and culture — featuring such writers as H.L. Mencken, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, Michael Kinsley and Zadie Smith."

The magazine's new editor, Gabriel Snyder, previously held senior jobs at Bloomberg, the Atlantic's website and Gawker.

Folkenflik also tweeted about the changes at the magazine.

Hughes bought the magazine in 2012 and at the time told NPR that he believed "people still want independent, rigorous reporting and The New Republic has been a place where that happens." In a 2013 interview, he told NPR's Steve Inskeep that he was committed to print.

"We make money off of print. And in addition to that, I personally love print. I mean, I tend to read on my phone and my iPad, but on the weekends in particular, I love sitting down with a print magazine and going page by page," he said. "So, it makes business sense for us, and it also is something that I love. So we're committed to print for the foreseeable future."

One of Hughes' first hires was Foer, who had previously edited the magazine from 2006 to 2010.

"I've always had a hard time imagining leaving here," Foer wrote today in a memo to staff. "That moment, however, has arrived. Chris and Guy [Vidra] have significant plans for this place. And their plans and my own vision for TNR meaningfully diverge."

Foer, who spoke to NPR's Robert Siegel in September when the magazine turned 100, said in the interview that The New Republic was central to American liberalism.

"It was created in 1914 on the eve of war and it supported the war. But by the end of the decade, it found itself wringing its hands and questioning itself and examining its first principles," he said. "And from that sense of self-examination came liberalism as we know it now; that combination of supporting a strong state that had a strong welfare state and social safety net, coupled with a real sense of the necessity of preserving civil liberties."

You can read the memo announcing the changes here.

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