02/06/2015 03:28 pm ET Updated Feb 06, 2015

New Republic Editor Jamil Smith Asks For Time Before Critics Declare Magazine Dead

Hired in the wake of The New Republic's massive staff exodus late last year, the magazine's new senior editor Jamil Smith joined HuffPost Live on Friday to discuss why readers should give the publication a chance to reinvent itself.

"The legacy of the magazine is not something that has been represented in all the eulogies," Smith told host Marc Lamont Hill. "It is a legacy of upheaval. Throughout the history of the magazine, different editors have said, 'You're not living up to the legacy of the previous, of the founder.'"

"I'm brought in, and my colleagues are there, to help usher this magazine into a different era," he continued. "The criticism, I understand it. I understand the people mourning an institution that they feel like has changed irrevocably. That said, I think that they should give us some time to understand what the magazine is actually going to become, and not declare it dead."

Smith, who was a producer for MSNBC's “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “Melissa Harris-Perry” before joining TNR, often writes on issues of race and politics. For part of the interview, he and host Marc Lamont Hill were joined by Canadian journalist Jeet Heer, who penned The New Republic's most recent cover story on the magazine's "perceived legacy of racism."

Smith said the story was "received very well" at TNR, and seen by the staff as the "beginning and not necessarily the end of the conversation about race" in the newsroom.