Thursday, January 31, 2013
This is amusing and acrid advice to a wealthy man who has purchased a publication. In this case, the magazine is New Republic and the owner is Chris Hughes. Whether you agree with the writer's view or not, there is in the opinion piece a cautionary note for PR practitioners. That counsel: Avoid saying, "This time is different." New Republic has been handed around and is a money-loser. It is a second-, perhaps, third-tier periodical at a time when major magazines like Newsweek have stopped their presses. What the new owner is doing is apparently a classic revival strategy at a time when old formulas no longer work. It is possible that Hughes sees something others have not. It is more likely his self-assurance has convinced him that he can run the magazine profitably. If I were working to publicize the new New Republic, I would want to be careful what I wrote and how, and I would suggest the same to the publisher. A host of wealthy men have failed in the publishing business. There is no guarantee Hughes will be any different. If Hughes can live with ongoing losses, he can focus on content and forget the need to make money. If he can't, it is a safe bet that New Republic will be up for sale again in a few years.