Indeed, it was TNR’s readers that had led the publication’s editors to create the Energy & Environment blog in the first place. In December and January, they had launched a survey (designed for marketing purposes), which asked readers what they wanted to read more of. The number-one answer: the environment. In addition to such surveys, Foer said, he tries to read every comment made online. “It’s good to know where your readers minds are at,” he said. “And that’s so easy now. One of the best parts of TNR is that a lot of readers like to think of themselves as being on the staff. They have opinions about everything and they express them livelily.”

As attentive to readers’ concerns as any publication may be, however, The New Republic is certainly not alone in facing up to obstacles as it tries to figure out its image, presence, and business plan online. TNR’s dedicated readership seems willing to forgive and forget the logo incident, which is a good thing. The new blog has great writers and, in its first week, has been producing a lot of good content unrelated to and in between explanations of its advertising deal with BP.

Curtis Brainard is the editor of The Observatory, CJR's online critique of science and environment reporting. Follow him on Twitter @cbrainard.