Big news in media circles: The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz broke the news today on Twitter that Franklin Foer, brother of novelist Jonathan Safran Foer and author of How Soccer Explains The World, is stepping down as editor of The New Republic after almost five years in the role, with executive editor Richard Just taking his place. Foer will continue to write for the magazine as an editor-at-large.
In an interview with Yahoo, TNR's longtime owner Marty Peretz, who holds controversial views and is famously strong-willed, said his relationship with Foer rivals the close one he had with former editor Michael Kinsley, and praised Foer as "gifted" and "sweet." Foer told The New York Times he is making the move to do more writing; he's currently writing on a book about liberalism's roots in the Progressive era.
Industry observers are just beginning to weigh in--speculating on the reasons behind the shakeup, assessing Foer's legacy, and contemplating TNR's future.
- Management Problems? wonders Gawker's Hamilton Nolan: "We suspect that maybe, just maybe, working for Marty Peretz is unpleasant."
- Foer Changed TNR's Tone, observes Yahoo's Michael Calderone: "Foer oversaw design changes and moved the magazine to a biweekly schedule. He also helped shift the contrarian, left-of-center magazine away from the staunch pro-war editorial stance it adopted before the 2003 invasion of Iraq."
- I Wish Foer Luck But I'm Still Angry At Him, Scott Beauchamp, the soldier who penned the dispatches, tells The New York Observer: "I don't understand how [Foer] wouldn't even offer any sort of apology after my first sergeant was convicted of murder, for executing Iraqis." Foer, in turn, told the Observer he understands how Beauchamp feels but stands by his treatment of the incident.
- Richard Just Will Take TNR In A New Direction, reports Patricia Cohen at The New York Times: Just tells the Times he plans on transforming TNR's website into a destination for long-form journalism while continuing the magazine's history of crusading, but with "more of a swashbuckling mentality," on issues such as human rights, the environment, immigration, and gay rights. Cohen observes, "At 31, Mr. Just fits the New Republic’s formula for editors: young, male Ivy Leaguers."