It's Official: Ezra Klein Is Leaving the Washington Post

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 21 2014 10:09 AM

Ezra Klein Is Leaving the Washington Post to Start His Own News Outlet

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Journalist Ezra Klein attends The New Yorker's David Remnick Hosts White House Correspondents' Dinner Weekend Pre-Party at W Hotel Rooftop on April 26, 2013 in Washington, DC

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The New Yorker

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."

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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."

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. Follow him on Twitter.