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Vidra Apologizes for The New Republic Implosion; Still Committed to His Plans

In an interview with Politico, a somewhat contrite Guy Vidra apologized for the lack of communication that caused nearly the entire staff of The New Republic to mutiny, but remained firmly committed to the policies that got him to that position.

“It is absolutely absurd to suggest that I would come to this institution to do anything other than leverage what we do here to bring it to a larger and more engaged audience,” the magazine’s first-ever chief executive told Politico, addressing claims that he’d tried to change TNR into a web-based click machine.

The magazine, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, practically collapsed after its new owner, 31-year-old Facebook billionaire Chris Hughes, unceremoniously axed EIC Franklin Foer and literary editor Leon Wieseltier for disagreeing with Hughes’ vision for the company, causing its senior editors and contributors to quit in protest. (Apparently, Foer learned of his firing when outlets began asking him for comment about his replacement, who had been actively recruiting new hires for the magazine’s new New York headquarters. Also, Foer had no idea that the magazine was moving to New York.)

Vidra took full responsibility for failing to communicate his vision to his staff: “I took for granted that the people in this organization would know how passionate I am about The New Republic and about this opportunity,” he said. “And that is absolutely my fault.”

But though Vidra insists that TNR will continue its legacy, he’s still really into that Silicon Valley technobabble, praising BuzzFeed as “incredible” and promising to verticalize the magazine or whatever:

Vidra’s vision for The New Republic remains somewhat ambiguous. He talked of “amplifying” The New Republic’s journalism, of making it “vertically integrated,” which he described as “breaking down the wall” between print and digital. “There are fiefdoms,” he said, “and because of those fiefdoms, there’s no collaboration.”

[Politico]
[Image via The New Republic]

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