Chris Hughes, one of the original founders of Facebook, has just purchased The New Republic. He will become both the publisher and editor-in-chief of the magazine, which he plans on modernizing for the new age in media.
In the next era of The New Republic, we will aggressively adapt to the newest information technologies without sacrificing our commitment to serious journalism.
Hughes promises to maintain the center-left outlook of the magazine:
The New Republic has been and will remain a journal of progressive values, but it will above all aim to appeal to independent thinkers on the left and the right who search for fresh ideas and a deeper understanding of the challenges our world faces.
As the founding editors reminded their readers in 1914, the success of this endeavor ultimately depends on the public support of readers in search of “sound and disinterested thinking.” As long as there are readers who continue to crave that kind of journalism, we will aspire to serve them.
He was also previously the leader of President Obama’s impressive online organization during the 2008 campaign.
“Technology has always been used as a net to capture people in a campaign or cause, but not to organize,” says Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. “Chris saw what was possible before anyone else.” Hughes built something the candidate said he wanted but didn’t yet know was possible: a virtual mechanism for scaling and supporting community action. Then that community turned around and elected his boss president. “I still can’t quite wrap my mind around it,” Hughes says.
His key tool was My.BarackObama.com, or MyBO for short, a surprisingly intuitive and fun-to-use networking Web site that allowed Obama supporters to create groups, plan events, raise funds, download tools, and connect with one another — not unlike a more focused, activist Facebook. MyBO also let the campaign reach its most passionate supporters cheaply and effectively. By the time the campaign was over, volunteers had created more than 2 million profiles on the site, planned 200,000 offline events, formed 35,000 groups, posted 400,000 blogs, and raised $30 million on 70,000 personal fund-raising pages.
Despite his promises, based on his pedigree, one must wonder if he moves The New Republic further to the left.