Shannon Rooney, and SMC grad student of remarkable talent, and I published an article earlier this year in Journalism Studies looking at the discourses of technology and inevitability that animated discussion around editorial shake ups at The New Republic in late 2014. This is part of a longer research trajectory critiquing the discourses of technology and innovation in the journalism industry, specifically looking at how they often fall into conflict with journalism’s other publicly-oriented traditions and values. There is not a ton of research looking at magazines in general, and especially not public policy and cultural interests magazines like The New Republic , but we found that for a lot of commentators, TNR was a bellwether of the tech industries influence over not just journalism, but other institutions in public life, leading to a somewhat strident, but rarely full-throated critique, of market capital and neoliberalism in American public life.
Full version of the article can be found here: https://www.academia.edu/21687865/_Death_of_the_New_Republic_
“DEATH OF THE NEW REPUBLIC” : Discursive conflict between tech industry management and journalism’s cultural value
When The New Republic owner and Facebook founder Chris Hughes replaced the magazine’s top editors in December 2014, it set off a round of vociferous commentary declaring “The Death of The New Republic.” Portrayed as a conflict between journalistic tradition and Silicon Valley values, changes at the magazine crystallized lingering anxieties about the future of journalism and its relationship to the demands of the market. This article examines commentary about changes at the magazine through the lens of metajournalistic discourse, arguing that the discourses analyzed established the means by which structural conditions and philosophical challenges in the journalism industry were rendered sensible to the broader public. Though acts of personalized blame and schadenfreude at the publication’s supposed demise characterized much of the discourse, other texts worked to clarify the stakes in the conflict, ultimately creating the terms by which the conflict could be made sense of and consequences articulated to the broader field of journalism.