When mega millionaire Chris Hughes bought The New Republic last March, he asked Frank Foer to take the editorial reigns of the eminent magazine. But Foer didn't exactly leap at the chance. He'd already given a decade of his life to the storied publication and was enjoying a two-year hiatus, freelance writing and editing literary essays by heavyweights like David Remnick and Buzz Bissinger for the forthcoming anthology, Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame.
Besides, he'd left TNR for good reason. "When I'd been editor," Foer recalled in a phone interview with The Slant, "especially in the last couple years, it had gone through a period of fairly severe austerity. The magazine had ceased to be an exciting place because so much of my day was consumed with managing very limited budgets and constantly telling writers, 'No, we can't do X or Y project.'"
But Hughes, who amassed a staggering $700 million fortune after co-founding Facebook, made Foer an irresistible offer: a big budget and a firm commitment to long-form journalism: "To return to a magazine that is not just growing," Foer enthuses, "but has big ambitions for what it wants to accomplish feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity. To have the resources to send journalists to different countries and parts of America gets your editor pulse racing."
Eight months into his renewed editorship, Foer spoke to The Slant from his offices in Washington D.C. about The New Republic's harried past (rabble-rouser Martin Peretz, fabulist Stephen Glass, the Scott Thomas Beauchamp drama) and exciting new future. He also shared some outtakes from "The Talented Mr. Muth," a recent feature he penned for the New York Times Magazine. But first he walked us through a little of his own history:
Read the Q&A at The Slant:There's Always More to the Story.