Readers and pundits have been wondering how a new owner might change the venerable Washington political magazine, The New Republic, and they just got an early answer. A post on the magazine's blog announced early this morning that the website will drop its pay wall for recent articles. (The post doesn't say how "recent" a story has to be to remain free.) Archives and comment features will still be limited to paid subscribers, but key articles from current issues will no longer be hidden from the general public.
The New Republic was purchased earlier this month by Chris Hughes, one of the co-founders of Facebook, who is worth an estimated $700 million. Despite its reputation in political circles and its nearly 100-year history, the magazine has struggled to make money, cutting back ad pages in the paper edition while trying to increase subscribers on the web. Like all media properties that also exist offline, TNR has struggled with the balance between getting its articles read and getting its writers paid. So as The New York Times has increased restrictions on its free content, TNR will open the doors wider in the hope of expanding its audience. Stay tuned to see if works.
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