After co-founding Facebook, then running the online strategy for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Chris Hughes’ feelings on print magazines come as a bit of a surprise for many.
Now enthroned as the publisher and editor-in-chief of The New Republic, Hughes shared his thoughts on brand marketing and publishing at last month’s Adobe Digital Symposium in NYC.
Publishing Executive’s Denis Wilson covered Hughes’ comments and notes that Hughes is a firm believer in the traditional printed magazine.
“One of the main points Chris made during the Q&A is that long-form journalism still plays a powerful role in the lives and careers of an influential, albeit limited, population,” Wilson writes. “His goal is clearly to serve the interests of hearty journalism and progressive thinking by integrating modern digital and social tactics with rich editorial content.”
So why, asks Wilson, does a 30-year-old entrepreneur purchase a stake in an aging magazine with a strong print footprint?
“I care about institutions, particularly institutions that line up with my beliefs,” said Hughes.
“While he loves a clever graph or infographic, he believes incredibly well researched, well written narrative journalism has the ability to shape the hearts and minds of a core of thought leaders and influencers,” Wilson notes.
Clearly he’s not alone, as we see more digital-first companies putting out print publications and using them to expand their brand and their influence. And he feels print has a critically important role to play.
“We still have a print publication that comes out 20 times a year and is really the ‘crown jewel’ of the business,” says Hughes, noting that “highly educated, influential people” still enjoy reading print.
Hughes represents a great example of an innovator who eschews the limiting silo approach and understands that influence and thought leadership demand the proper platform.