After Nearly Two Decades, James F. Hoge Jr. Steps Down as Editor of Foreign Affairs

After Nearly Two Decades, James F. Hoge Jr. Steps Down as Editor of Foreign Affairs

February 8, 2010 2:28 pm (EST)

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Lisa Shields
CFR Vice President, Communications and Marketing
Tel: 212.434.9888
[email protected]

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James F. Hoge Jr. has announced his decision to step down as editor of Foreign Affairs at the end of 2010 to pursue new opportunities in communications and international affairs. His activities will include chairing Human Rights Watch, starting in October, working with an international consulting firm, and teaching at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs.

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Foreign Affairs, published by the Council on Foreign Relations since 1922, is an independent magazine of analysis and commentary on foreign policy and international affairs. Hoge is the second-longest serving editor in the magazine’s history, and only the fifth in eighty-eight years. “It is impossible to exaggerate what Jim has accomplished in his tenure as editor,” said CFR President Richard N. Haass. “He led the magazine through a period of profound political and economic change in the country and the world. He did so with an editorial vision that made the magazine widely accessible, while maintaining its preeminent role within the American and international policy communities.”

During Hoge’s term as editor and Peter G. Peterson Chair, Foreign Affairs grew steadily in editorial influence, circulation, and advertising revenue. It expanded to six issues a year, nearly doubled its circulation to 160,000 copies per issue, added several foreign editions, and introduced a state-of-the-art website, Working with Pearson Education, Foreign Affairs also launched an innovative program that enables educators to customize textbooks with selected articles for international relations courses.

In recent biannual surveys, Foreign Affairs has been ranked the most influential media source for U.S. opinion leaders by the independent research firm Erdos & Morgan. Among the more than 1,000 articles published under Hoge’s editorship were such landmark essays as Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations?” in 1993, Paul Krugman’s  “Competitiveness: A Dangerous Obsession,” in 1994, and the 2001 “Tiananmen Papers,” which revealed for the first time how China’s leaders decided to crush the 1989 student protests.

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Huntington’s seminal essay is the most requested Foreign Affairs reprint since George F. Kennan’s 1947 essay, “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” that laid out the doctrine of containment. In his essay, Huntington foresaw world politics entering a new phase in which the great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of international conflict would be cultural.

Krugman’s landmark essay was an early warning that a flawed understanding of competitiveness in a globalized economy would lead to wasteful government spending, protectionism, and trade wars, all of which are current prospects.

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“The Tiananmen Papers” was adapted from secret documents that provided verbatim accounts of the divisions among Chinese leaders as they confronted the 1989 student uprisings in Beijing and cities across China. Ultimately those favoring repression by military force won out over those favoring accommodation. The bloody decisions still haunt Chinese politics today.

In 2006, Foreign Affairs provided another extraordinary insider account of a major conflict. Based on captured Iraqi documents, “Saddam’s Delusions” documented life in the Iraqi dictator’s bunker during the 2003 war. Until the bitter end when American tanks were a stone’s throw from the bunker, Saddam believed his own propaganda machine’s claims of imminent victory.

“What Foreign Affairs provides is a unique, nonpartisan forum for wide-ranging ideas on America’s role in the world,” said Hoge. “It has been a privilege to work with the magazine’s contributors and staff to further that goal.”

Before joining Foreign Affairs, Hoge spent twenty-six years as a Washington correspondent, then editor and publisher, of metropolitan newspapers in New York and Chicago that between them won seven Pulitzer Prizes under his leadership. He plans to continue his work with several international and academic institutions.

CFR Co-Chairs Carla A. Hills and Robert E. Rubin announced the formation of an independent search committee for the next editor of Foreign Affairs. The committee will be led by CFR Board member and Harvard University professor Martin S. Feldstein, who also chairs the Foreign Affairs Advisory Board. Inquiries can be directed via email to [email protected].



Average Paid Circulation for 2009: 157,563

Foreign Affairs was listed as one of the ten “Biggest Circulation Gainers 2000-2008” in Capell’s Circulation Report (May 11, 2009), reflecting a growth of 48% during that period.

20% of Foreign Affairs’ total circulation is international; since 2005, it has grown three times faster than its U.S circulation. Top international markets include the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Australia, and the Netherlands.

Subscriber demographics for Foreign Affairs consistently top those of other publications in its category, including The Economist.  The median household income for subscribers is $125,900, and the average household net worth is $1.35 million.

Strong circulation and newsstand sales have supported a growth in advertising. Since 2001, the number of advertising pages sold has increased 227% and advertising revenue grew 273% in that same period. Recently, the magazine introduced a new advertising section that attracted six upscale travel advertisers; it also launched a guide to international affairs graduate schools that drew support from ten advertisers.

The magazine’s new website,, brings the magazine’s distinctive editorial approach to the web with new daily features. In addition to a number of web-only features, the site offers the entire contents of each bimonthly issue, of which one-third is free online; the rest, including the magazine’s rich archives dating back to 1961, is available free to subscribers, and for a minimal fee to others. averages 264,000 unique visitors and 968,610 page views each month.

Since its introduction in July 2009, the Kindle eReader edition of Foreign Affairs has generated over 14,000 subscriptions. Foreign Affairs will soon be available on the Sony and Barnes & Noble eReaders.

Foreign Affairs has an active presence in social media, with over 6,500 followers on Facebook and more than 5,000 on Twitter.

A weekly advertiser-supported eNewsletter, highlighting new content on, reaches more than 63,000 opt-in subscribers. A monthly e-newsletter for educators reaches more than 13,000 subscribers.

A bimonthly event series, Foreign Affairs LIVE, brings together subscribers, authors, and editors for discussions of current international issues.

Nadine Apelian
Media Relations, Foreign Affairs
Tel: 917.710.7432 Email: [email protected]


The Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.



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