Big, big news: FishbowlDC has learned that Wall Street Journal Chief Political Reporter Jackie Calmes is leaving the paper to cover national economic policy for the New York Times.
To say that this is a blow to the Wall Street Journal would be an understatement. Calmes won the the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Reporting on the Presidency in 2005 and has been a crucial ingredient on the paper’s political coverage. Further, she’s been a regular and steady presence at the bureau, having joined the WSJ in Washington in 1990. And finally, to lose Calmes during a heated presidential campaign proves additionally heart-breaking for the paper.
In the past few months, the paper’s DC bureau has lost its bureau chief Jerry Seib (who does still pen a column and contribute to the political coverage), John Harwood (whom Calmes replaced when he left the Journal for the NYTimes), top economic reporter Greg Ip (who recently joined the Economist and was rumored to speak directly to Fed chairmen) and dean of congressional coverage David Rogers (left for Politico). All told? That’s about a century of institutional knowledge that’s been lost. Seib is the only person left in the bureau who was also there in 2000.
All is not lost in the bureau, however. Sue Davis continues to produce impressive scoops as does perennial award winner Brody Mullins. Likely, political reporters Davis and Chris Cooper and Laura Meckler will all move up the Journal’s totem pole, but none of them have covered a presidential campaign as fully and completely as those who have now departed the Journal.
As for Calmes, perhaps her move away from politics has to more to due with the fact that she’s just sick of getting hit by cars while on the trail.