Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes Buys 'New Republic'

By David Cohen Comment

Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes is the new owner of left-leaning political magazine The New Republic, with his purchase of a majority stake to be announced Friday.

Hughes first expressed interest in the publication in January, when its owners, including Editor-in-Chief Martin Peretz, hired The Blackstone Group to oversee the sale process.

His sale of his stake in Facebook enabled Hughes to take the plunge, as he was no longer listed as a top shareholder in the social network’s S-1, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in preparation for the upcoming initial public offer.

In addition to Facebook, Hughes ran the online portion of the election campaign for President Barack Obama, and launched charity-driven social network Jumo in 2010. Jumo merged with social-action publishing company Good last year; Hughes will continue to advise Good, but his focus will be on The New Republic.

The New York TimesMedia Decoder blog reported that Hughes will become publisher and editor-in-chief, and Editor Richard Just will remain in his post.

Hughes told Media Decoder he will focus on distributing The New Republic via tablets like Apple’s iPad, saying, “Five to 10 years from now, if not sooner, the vast majority of The New Republic readers are likely to be reading it on a tablet,” but he added that he is not pulling the plug on the print publication.

He added that he was interested in “the future of high-quality long-form journalism,” and that he would “expand the amount of rigorous reporting and solid analysis” already produced at The New Republic.

When Media Decoder asked Hughes about his economic outlook for The New Republic, he replied:

Profit, per se, is not my motive. The reason I’m getting involved here is that I believe in the type of vigorous contextual journalism that we — we in general, as a society — need. I’m investing and taking control of The New Republic because of my belief in its mission, not to make it the next Facebook.