The Crack-Up of The New Republic

Watching old industries get disrupted is a painful thing, and nowhere is this more evident than with established media companies.


From the New York Times to the New Criterion, everyone is feeling the pinch from digital disruption and “vertically integrated” media companies, such as Buzzfeed and the Huffington Post, who rely on click-bait articles to justify the spending of advertising dollars.

And all of this is happening in a world of declining audience attention spans, increased distractions and with the ever present specter of “content shock” on the horizon.

In case you missed it, The New Republic, recently purchased by Chris Hughes, is cracking up.  The media driven articles about the methods and responses to this change, serve as another sign that, what was once thought secure and assured in an open market, is now not so much.

This is what happens, when digital replaces physical, all methods and modes of communication have to change in order to adapt to the new market realities.

In other words: It had to happen.

Content distribution channels remain the ultimate arbiter of content market value. They are—as they always have been—agnostic on the substance of that content: uplifting or entertaining; progressive or conservative; educational or vapid.

Look, digital disruption is taking out everyone, even the old gray lady is offering payouts to journalists who want out because they can’t adapt to the new rules. Say what you may about the direction of The New Republic, and about whether or not it becomes “vertically integrated,” the underlying hand-wringing for “educational long form content” getting out to “the masses” is misplaced.

Content, is content, is content. Long form, investigative, journalism has never been immune to forces of digital market disruptions.

This is a time for excitement, not dread. A time for hope, not fear. A time for response, not blind, reaction.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
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