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Ezra Klein Out at Washington Post (Politico / Dylan Byers on Media)
The Washington Post announced Tuesday that its star economics blogger Ezra Klein will be leaving the paper to start a new venture. “When Ezra joined us in 2009, he was a wunderkind blogger with brash confidence and a burning desire to write a column in the print newspaper,” Post editors wrote in a memo to staff. “As he leaves us, Ezra is still a brash wunderkind, but now his burning desire has a grander scope: He is looking to start his own news organization, an ambition that befits someone with uncommon gifts of perception and analysis.” FishbowlNY Also leaving are Melissa Bell, WaPo’s director of platforms, and Dylan Matthews, a Wonkblog reporter. FishbowlDC “As early as this week, Klein is expected to announce a new venture — described in a memo to Post staffers as a new ‘news organization’ — that will look to staff more than 30 people on the editorial side alone.” Politico For nearly five years, the Post has steered a bounty of financial resources to its star economics columnist and blogger. It has allowed him to have a contributor deal with MSNBC, a column with Bloomberg View, and to write long-form for The New Yorker. It has provided him with eight staffers to keep Wonkblog, his popular policy vertical, flowing with up-to-the-minute charts and analysis. The PR department has promoted him in profile upon profile. But when Klein proposed the creation of an independent, explanatory journalism website — with more than three dozen staffers and a multiyear budget north of $10 million — the Post said enough is enough. BuzzFeed A quick look at Klein’s “following” list reveals he’s quite recently followed Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff as well Vox property editors-in-chief Joshua Topolsky (The Verge) and Lockhart Steele (Curbed Network). So are Klein and Vox in talks? BuzzFeed reached out to both Klein and Bankoff, both of whom declined to offer comment on the speculation. NYT / Paul Krugman May I say respectfully to the Post: You idiots! You see, Ezra and his team filled a huge gap. That gap exists throughout the news media, although the Times has, I believe, largely closed it in other ways. But it was especially severe at the Post. CJR / Behind The News Although there had been rumblings of his departure for several weeks, news of Klein’s exit drove enough traffic to temporarily crash Poynter’s website, a fact not lost on some observers. Digiday Digital publishing executives have a message for him: Good luck — you’re going to need it. Starting a sustaining publishing venture is harder than ever. It’s easy to be seduced by the current vogue for “personal brands” and the ability of superstars like Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg to plant their own flag. But when it comes down to it, this is a roll of the dice for a 29-year-old journalist steeped in the wonkier (and less profitable) public policy parts of the media world.