Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz moves to The Daily Beast
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After three decades of writing about the media for the Washington Post, Media Notes columnist Howard Kurtz is taking a new gig at Tina Brown’s site, The Daily Beast. ‘As Washington Bureau Chief, he will lead our reporting in the capital and on the campaign trail,’ Brown said in a statement. ‘Howie knows that today the interaction of media and politics is the story. He combines integrity and rigorous reporting.’
“After a lifetime in newspapers, I’m ready for the challenge of fast-paced online journalism,” Kurtz said in a statement. The Daily Beast describes his beat as ‘politics, media, and the intersection of the two.’ (He will also keep his “Reliable Sources” show on CNN.)
Some were shocked by the news about the veteran newspaper reporter, who once gently chided Brown for ‘trying to adapt to the relentless pace of the blabosphere.’ True, the Washington Post’s revenue has been down; in May, the Washington Post Co. reported that its newspaper division, which is dominated by the flagship newspaper, lost $13.8 million in the first quarter of 2010. And yet, while print advertising dropped 8% to $68.7 million, online advertising rose 8% to $23.7 million. By contrast, when the Daily Beast launched in 2008, Barry Diller, who bankrolls the site, told Kurtz that he didn’t expect the Beast to turn a profit for two to three years, ‘if then.’
And yet, there’s a certain cache in jumping from print to online. Brown did it herself, having formerly worked for Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, and lately, many journalists are making the same choice. Last month, Newsweek’s Howard Fineman and the New York Times’ Peter Goodman both signed on with the Beast’s competitor, the Huffington Post. ‘For me, it’s a chance to write with a point of view,’ Goodman told Kurtz.
For his part, Kurtz told TBD.com that the decision wasn’t a financial one. ‘I am trying to be an online entrepreneur and that can be difficult in a big company that has an established way of doing things,’ he said. ‘I think the Post has a really good website, but if you want to get out there and invent something new, maybe it is better to try to do that at a young place that’s still growing.’
-- Melissa Maerz