It's official: Ezra Klein is leaving the Washington Post.
In a memo to staff this morning, the paper's brass announced that Klein—who they called a "brash wunderkind" (presumably in a nice way)—is leaving the legacy outlet to start his own news 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," the paper wrote in a memo to staff obtained by Politico and others. "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."
The move reportedly follows weeks of internal discussions between Klein and Post executives over Klein's proposal to launch an in-house venture at the paper—think something akin to Bill Simmon's Grantland or Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight—that would have had several dozen staffers and a multi-year budget in the eight-figure range. The paper, now owned by Jeff Bezos, ultimately balked at that proposal.
Klein will be taking two colleagues with him: Dylan Matthews, who worked on the Wonkblog team and was responsible for the viral traffic-success that was the Know More vertical, and Melissa Bell, the paper's director of platforms. Wonkblog itself, however, remains a Post brand, as does Know More. The paper promises it will "continue building those brands and expanding their reach."