For much of its history, a party for The New Republic might not have brought to mind lobster hors d’oeuvres, custom-printed napkins and tray liners, and a grand Soho apartment just a couple floors below the penthouse that Lenny Kravitz sold to Alicia Keys.
But Chris Hughes has invigorated the venerable old brand, not just with a cash infusion befitting a Facebook co-founder, but with youth, buzz and a vision that he articulated to the hundred or so guests who had landed hard-to-come-by invites to the magazine’s relaunch party Monday night at Mr. Hughes’s home.
As revelers mingled and the well-read crowd approvingly assessed the young publisher’s ample library, Mr. Hughes stood on a ledge in front of his fireplace to tell the crowd that the answer to “why in the world are you doing this” is simple. The relaunched TNR would use great writing, reporting and criticism to “shape how we view the world.”
The new-look cover features an interview with the newly relaunched President Obama (because what is a second term if not that?) by Mr. Hughes and editor Franklin Foer. The rest of the table of contents reads like a who’s who: Sam Lipsyte on sex writing, Judith Shulevitz on grandmothers, Michael Lewis on Goldman Sachs.
Old-media types like Times media reporter David Carr (who left early for a guest appearance in an Upright Citizens Brigade show), Politico’s Mike Allen, New York mag editor in chief Adam Moss, the Post’s Keith Kelly and Time’s Fareed Zakaria mingled with the new, including Kickstarter founders Perry Chen and Yancey Strickler, BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith and Quartz’s Kevin Delaney.
If the excitement of the party and the reboot continue to surround the biweekly, Mr. Hughes’s motives for buying TNR may become ever less mysterious.
Additional reporting contributed by Ken Kurson.