TNR re-designs itself

By Christopher B. Daly

The venerable opinion magazine The New Republic is getting a makeover. Here is a video report from the NYTimes about the new look.

TNR was founded in 1912 by Progressive journalist Herbert Croly. One of his first recruits was Walter Lippmann, who became one of the most prominent US journalists of the 20th Century. Here’s my take, from Covering America:

In 1912 a friend asked Lippmann if he would like to write a book. Lippmann

published A Preface to Politics the next year to favorable reviews, and while living

in New York and mingling with the leftist and bohemian crowd around the intellectual

and patron Mabel Dodge, he started another book. While he was working

on it, Lippmann got an invitation to lunch from Herbert Croly, a prominent Progressive

thinker and journalist. Croly, who had been impressed by Lippmann’s

debut book, had a proposition: How would Lippmann like to join the staff of a

new magazine Croly was putting together? The magazine was to be smart, literate,

and progressive. He could write and edit and make $60 a week. Lippmann

jumped at the offer. It was another stroke of good fortune. The magazine, which

still had no name, was eventually called the New Republic, and it became one of

the most influential journals of opinion and analysis of the twentieth century.14

Croly’s goal was to “be radical without being socialistic”15 and to advance his view

that the small, weak central government envisioned by Jefferson could not possibly

deal with the challenges posed by companies like Standard Oil or the big

meatpacking firms or the sugar trust. Instead, the country needed new agencies

like the Interstate Commerce Commission or the Food and Drug Administration,

staffed by a new class of expert public servants who would have the power

to police and guide these huge private enterprises. This was just the outlook that

Lippmann had been moving toward ever since he left Harvard, one that ultimately

drove him away from the socialists and muckrakers of his youth. . .



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Filed under history, Journalism, journalism history

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