No More Frontin’?

You may have noticed a slight change in recent editions of The (Franklin Foer-led) New Republic: The front of the book section, “Notebook,” is now gone. TNR’s Adam B. Kushner explains:

“We stopped running the Notebook section because we wanted to use those pages in the front of the magazine to report sharper, less strictly political pieces; we wanted to dig into the culture of Washington and of politics a bit. In that space, since Frank took over, we’ve done stories on college students who started their own nonprofit to support a ground force in Darfur; the quelled feud between John McCain and Grover Norquist; and the memory guru hired by Scooter Libby‘s defense team. Also, Notebook gobbled time and energy from our writers, particularly on production days, when many of them had stories to edit or revise. This way, our writers get to work on their own bylined pieces, free of the two-day deadline each week as we close the magazine. Finally, Notebook was, in a way, a blog before there were blogs; now that the real thing exists, Notebook faced pretty stiff competition. Unlike the magazine — where we put a premium on more considered, reported opinion — the best thing about those short pieces was their immediacy, and, to that end, we have the Plank doing it better at TNR Online.”

Fine, fine. Seems perfectly sensible to us. But we’re curious as to why TNR didn’t don their cherished contrarian hat and, at the very least, kill the section off with a “The Case Against The Front Of Our Magazine” piece.