The New Republic has halted publication of its next issue after dozens of employees, including top editors Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, resigned from the political biweekly over changes to the publication.
“Given the departure this week of several editors and writers, The New Republic decided to cancel the issue rather than risk producing a magazine not in keeping with the traditionally high standards of the institution,” a spokesman for the publication told TheWrap on Saturday.
The next issue was due for publication Dec. 15. Instead, the 100-year-old institution will next publish on Feb. 2, with newly installed editor-in-chief Gabriel Snyder editing.
New Republic alum James Kirchick, who served as an assistant editor and contributing editor for the magazine from 2007 until last year, told TheWrap that he’s “very distressed” about the current state of the magazine.
“I am very distressed about what’s happened, but the New Republic didn’t die this week; it died when Chris Hughes bought the magazine,” Kirchick — who, along with Eli Lake, Charles Krauthammer, Lawrence Kaplan and Peter Beinart, was dropped from the masthead in 2013 — said.
Kirchick went on to claim that Hughes, who purchased The New Republic in 2012, had to research the magazine at the library to educate himself about the publication he was purchasing.
“People who really love the New Republic, know what it’s about, and why it’s special, and value it — we don’t need to go to the fucking New York Public Library to pull the archive off the shelf and educate ourselves about the importance of the magazine. He did. That was very telling to me.”
The decision to suspend publication follows a mass exodus from the publication this week. Foer tendered his resignation Thursday, citing changes planned by Chris Hughes, New Republic owner and Facebook cofounder, as well as CEO Guy Vidra.
“I’ve always had a hard time imagining leaving here. That moment, however, has arrived. Chris and Guy have significant plans for this place. And their plans and my own vision for TNR meaningfully diverge,” Foer said in a memo to staff. “I’ve decided this is the right time for me to finish a book that is several years overdue and to work on a few other projects. I will miss everyone here immensely.”
Among the changes mentioned by Vidra in his own memo to staff: Cutting the publication from 20 issues to 10 annually, transforming the publication into “a vertically integrated digital media company,” and moving the magazine’s headquarters from Washington, D.C. to its original location of New York City.
The departures of Foer and Wieseltier were followed by the resignations of dozens of employees.
Departing senior editor Julia Ioffe took to Facebook on Friday to preemptively address any spin that Hughes and Vidra might put forward about the departing employees.
“The narrative you’re going to see Chris and Guy put out there is that I and the rest of my colleagues who quit today were dinosaurs, who think that the Internet is scary and that Buzzfeed is a slur. Don’t believe them. The staff at TNR has always been faithful to the magazine’s founding mission to experiment, and nowhere have I been so encouraged to do so,” Ioffe wrote. “There was no opposition in the editorial ranks to expanding TNR’s web presence, to innovating digitally. Many were even board for going monthly. We’re not afraid of change. We have always embraced it.”