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You might remember that in January 2010 we told you that The Baffler was back in action after a three-year hiatus, with a new publisher at the helm. But after the release of a quality issue that resulted in book contracts and honors, things didn't go exactly as planned. Then Frank and Summers got to talking, and Summers and a few investors ended up buying the journal's assets. Frank will stay on as national editor; others on the masthead include senior editor Chris Lehmann, fiction editor Anna Summers, poetry editor Edwin Frank (from the New York Review of Books), and several contributing editors. Baffling will be Summers's full-time job; a historian, writer, editor, and former lecturer at Harvard, he's got major writing and critical-thinking chops, and gives subscribers and fans a reason to be optimistic.
The online strategy's still in the planning stages, but the next print edition will be released this fall. Summers says it will be heavy on contributions from women writers, including Barbara Ehrenreich and Moe Tkacik. Unlike many publications in today's volunteer-heavy media, The Baffler will actually pay writers for submissions.
Though business-wise the timing for a revitalized Baffler maybe couldn't be worse, relevance-wise it couldn't be better: all of the problems that existed at the time of the magazine's founding still exist, and have arguably gotten either worse or more annoying. Not to mention that, as Summers points out, "a lot of talented people are floating around without jobs."