New Republic Goes Canadian, Bi-Weekly

The New Republic has been bought out by a Canadian company and will be relaunched in a bi-weekly, glossier format.

The New Republic, the thinning left-leaning weekly magazine whose circulation has plunged in the era of the Web, is overhauling itself with a new configuration of owners, who are investing in a new look for the magazine and cutting back its publication schedule to every two weeks.

CanWest Global Communications, a Canadian media conglomerate that had been a minority shareholder in The New Republic, is now the majority owner. Martin Peretz, the editor-in-chief, is retaining his one-quarter interest.

[…]

Starting March 19, the magazine will publish fortnightly and will double in size to about 80 pages from the current 40, Mr. Foer said. It will be printed on heavier paper stock, and will be redesigned to include more original photographs, cartoons and other graphic elements. “It’s hard to be less visual than we are now,” Mr. Foer said.

The New Republic’s circulation, which was about 101,000 in 2000, has slipped to slightly more than 60,000 now. Mr. Foer attributed the decline in part to an intentional culling of subscriptions sold at reduced rates, a move that has helped save costs. Since then, he said, with the help of “buzzy” articles, “we’ve been growing at a slow but steady clip,” and circulation last year within Washington grew by 30 percent.

The news is drawing much criticism from both sides of the aisle, with Tbogg being unwilling to take a free subscription (he’s more a Salon kinda guy) and John Podhoretz thinking the switch to fortnightly publication will irrevocably change TNR’s DNA. Kevin Drum just hopes they’ll get rid of Marty Peretz.

I’m just rather amused by this:

“I’m hoping the new magazine will look and feel a lot more like a magazine,” Foer said, adding that its goal is “to be the New Yorker of politics and to exude that sense of quality in literary terms, and also in reported terms.”

The problem is that there’s already a New Yorker of politics: the New Yorker. Aside from an annual literary issue, it’s been a political mag for some time.

This is also rather amusing:

“There’s a massive vacuum in political journalism when it comes to magazines writing about politics, the culture of Washington and presidential politics,” he said.

True. Aside from the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Time, Newsweek, US News, Weekly Standard, New Republic, Mother Jones, and a few other magazines, nobody’s writing about that.

This sounds about right, though:

While the magazine would carry longer reported pieces and essays, the Web site will be enhanced with, among other things, videos of writers and editors talking about politics, Foer said. He said the sum of content produced for the magazine and the Web site wouldn’t change.

“‘Newsmagazine’ is an oxymoron today — if it isn’t hourly it isn’t news,” said the New Republic‘s new interim publisher, Canadian Greg MacNeil. “If it isn’t on the Web or on CNN, it isn’t news. Trying to be current in a magazine is not possible.”

Granted, New Yorker, TIME, and others break news all the time. They just do it on their websites.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Maybe it would help if they had some articles that I couldn’t guess the direction the writer was going before I started.

  2. Triumph says:

    The problem is that there’s already a New Yorker of politics: the New Yorker. Aside from an annual literary issue, it’s been a political mag for some time.

    James, when was the last time you actually read the New Yorker?

    They have fiction in EVERY ISSUE. They have weekly music, theatre, film, book reviews. The bulk of pages are taken up by listings for Theatre, cinema, music, etc… events going on in NY. Sure, they have political reportage, but its more of an intellectual general interest magazine–a la Harper’s–than simply a political rag. The political coverage is secondary, at best, in the New Yorker.

    I’ve been a subscriber for nearly two decades and its basically been the same type of magazine now as it was during the 1980s.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Triumph,

    I’m a subscriber and fairly regular reader. Yes, there are pages of theater listings and whatnot, which I promptly skip. The meat of the original content is politics, broadly defined, though. Or maybe that’s just what I focus on, since that’s what interests me?

    Perhaps it’s the Atlantic that I’m thinking of that has gone virtually all politics in recent years after having been more of a literary mag?