Odd that Facebook co-founder and initial Obama online guru Chris Hughes has made the move to print, purchasing a controlling interest in the New Republic and naming himself Editor-in-Chief. Certainly it won’t be a print product much longer, though that hardly matters if Hughes is able to turn out the great reportage he plans. From a new Financial Times interview with him conducted by Anna Fifield:
“Then almost a year ago, Hughes moved on to The New Republic and took a majority stake for an undisclosed amount. Like many other magazines, it was hemorrhaging readers, owners, editors and money. Its circulation had fallen to 34,000 from a peak of more than 100,000 two decades ago.
In an age when it can seem that journalism is increasingly conducted in 140 characters, it seemed like a counter-cultural step: here was a new-media sensation moving to a traditional magazine committed to publishing 10,000-word essays on paper and delivered to readers by post.
While admitting that Zuckerberg ‘absolutely’ thinks it’s weird that he’s moving into old media, Hughes argues that people of his age in this Twitter era are still readers. ‘A Pew [Research Center] report recently found that people under 30 are reading more books than they were 10 years ago – not much more, but more – and are as likely to have read them on their phone as in print,’ he says. ‘It’s crazy.’
He should know. He admits that he has read whole chapters of War and Peace on his iPhone, although he also read parts on old-fashioned paper. (Over Christmas, he tells me, he read DH Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, and he is now reading George Saunders’ new collection of short stories on his iPad.)”