Jonathan Cohn

Goodbye and Hello

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Today The New Republic welcomes Timothy Noah to the masthead. Actually, we welcome him back. Tim’s distinguished career in journalism began at TNR, in 1980, when he was a reporter-researcher. Later he went to the Wall Street Journal, then Slate, and now, to my great delight, he’s here. Among Tim's many accomplishments is his award-winning multimedia series on inequality, which he wrote last year and is turning into a book. It is an example of how the web can make journalism more vivid, useful, and influential – while still promoting a deep, nuanced understanding of the world in which we live. It also embraces the vision of a good society that this magazine has long promoted.

Tim’s is not the only new byline you’ll see at TNR. Alec MacGillis, formerly of the Washington Post, joined the staff a week ago, bringing his own impressive credentials -- as a fan of the Boston Red Sox and, more important, as a journalist whose reporting sets the agenda rather than merely commenting upon it. I expect he'll be doing a lot more of that here, which is a good thing. The 2012 election is shaping up as the most important and consequential in a generation, with the future of the welfare state and the functioning of our republic at stake. Between Tim and Alec, not to mention rest of TNR’s staff, I can’t think of more talented crew with whom to cover it.

The bittersweet note to this announcement is the other news you’ve heard: The departure of Jonathan Chait, who has been with this publication since the early 1990s and now heads to New York magazine. It’s tough to summarize his many contributions – the insights he’s brought to politics, the laughs he’s brought to readers, the joy he's brought to colleagues, the grief he’s brought to hacks. Jon is part of this institution and always will be -- taking his place alongside Mike Kinsley, Rick Hertzberg, and a few other writers whose prose has appeared under the letters “TRB.” 

But you probably knew that already. So I’ll let you in on something else. Jon and I have worked alongside one another for nearly our entire professional lives. And he is one of the most honorable, decent souls I know. In a town of people who care only about doing what they think will advance their careers, Jon cares only about doing what he thinks is right. It's the way he analyzes the world. And it's the way he treats the people around him. I’m thankful to have been his colleague and more thankful, still, to be his friend.

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