New owner at The New Republic

Gregory Warner Mar 9, 2012

Kai Ryssdal: There were big doings in the media world today. Big and young doings.

Twenty-eight-year-old Chris Hughes, who helped Mark Zuckerberg start Facebook and so is now ridiculously rich, has bought The New Republic. The New Republic — that 100-year-old intellectual journal of opinion. The very epitome of long-form sit-down-and-think-about-it journalism. The anti-Facebook, if you will

For those of you who might be thinking, ’28-year-old billionaries buying things; hey you kids, get off my lawn!’ — we asked Gregory Warner whether old media is the new playground for the moguls of new media.

Gregory Warner: Nothing says “I’ve arrived” like buying a newspaper or prestigious magazine.

Tom Rosenstiel: I mean Chris Hughes is not the famous founder of Facebook, that’s Mark Zuckerberg. He’s better known today than yesterday, after acquiring The New Republic.

Tom Rosenstiel is director of the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. And let’s face it, excellence in journalism? Needs money. Especially the long form opinion-y magazine-y stuff. That doesn’t sell a lot of ads.

Rosenstiel: And they’ve always needed the backing of rich benefactors.

Such as Marty Peretz, who bought The New Republic 40 years ago.

Cyndi Stivers: And I think it’s given Marty Peretz a seat at the table in kind of setting the conversation in Washington.

Cyndi Stivers is editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journalism Review, also a place for long form in-depth think pieces. So could intellectual journalism become the new status symbol for the Silicon Valley set? She hopes so.  

Stivers: And perhaps he wants to express his views in more than 140 characters. Imagine that.

But they’ve only given me 60 seconds for this piece so… in Philadelphia, I’m Gregory Warner for Marketplace.

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