Along with Jason Zengerle and Michael Crowley, I was one of the three original contributors to The Plank. None of us considered ourselves natural bloggers. All of us would have probably preferred to be spending our time reporting a 5,000-word feature story. But the world had changed—and, for all our trepidations, it looked like a good time, and it was, especially during the long 2008 election season. Eventually, the rest of the TNR staff joined us on the blog. And then, many of these writers acquired their own blogs. With the advent of the Stash, Spine, Treatment, Vine, and Avenue, the magazine’s whole blogging apparatus emerged as something wonderfully different than initially designed. There was an unintended consequence to all this new blogging: To a large extent, the idea of a group blog ceased to make sense, what with the group so dispersed. So, we’ve decided to tenderly retire the Plank and complete the renovation of our website that began organically.
In the course of this renovation, we’re making several other changes. Denizens of the Plank will be shifting their time to producing more pieces—pieces grounded in reporting or extended argument or both, the essential qualities that we value so highly in print. Noam Scheiber, our master of political economy, will also be returning to longer-form writing. The Stash will join the Plank in the great blogosphere in the sky.
But don’t you mourn this loss. In The Plank’s stead, there’s a new blog on our roll. Jonathan Chait, our venerable TRB from Washington, is launching the digital version of his print column. You know him as a recreational pugilist, a master logician, a comic genius, and the worthy heir to the space once occupied by Michael Kinsley. He is a natural blogger and I’m sure you will find yourself unable to resist compulsively clicking on this url. I apologize in advance for Jon sucking away so much of your time.