After five years, journalist, frequent MSNBC guest and host, and Wonkblog founder Ezra Klein is leaving the Washington Post to start a media company of his own.
On Tuesday morning, Poynter got its hands on a memo the Post released to staff announcing Klein's departure.
The memo announced Klein's departure as well as that of Wonkblog journalist Dylan Matthews and Washington Post director of blog engagement Melissa Bell.
Describing Klein as a "wunderkind," the memo said Klein's "passion and drive will be missed" but that those at the Post "will take pride in watching him chart out his new venture."
Klein's departure is not a total surprise; previous reports said he had asked the higher-ups at the Post for an eight-figure investment in order to start a website of his own, an offer the Washington Post declined.
Here's the Washington Post's full memo announcing Klein's departure, via Poynter:
We regret to announce that Ezra Klein, Melissa Bell and Dylan Matthews are leaving The Post for a new venture.
All three were instrumental in two of The Post’s most successful digital initiatives, Wonkblog and Know More. We plan to continue building those brands and expanding their reach, and we’ll have some exciting announcements related to them in the coming days.
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. 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. Ezra’s passion and drive will be missed, but we will take pride in watching him chart out his new venture.
Melissa has played a pivotal role in our digital strategy. As director of platforms, Melissa worked with the embedded developers to introduce WordPress as a secondary CMS, allowing for much of the development experimentation we’ve seen over the last year. She took over blog strategy and worked to hone the number of blogs and strengthen existing brands. She also managed to find time for some writing while here, driving our live coverage expansion, penning a Style column for more than a year, blogging for BlogPost and Style Blog and writing magazine stories. But her biggest strength is her personality, a combination of relentless determination and self-deprecating humor that helped her motivate young developers.
Dylan Matthews is a wunderkind in his own right. A blogger since middle school, Dylan had freelanced for Slate and worked at the American Prospect — before his 18th birthday. He started contributing to Wonkblog while still a student at Harvard and jumped in full-time in 2012. Last year he launched Know More, which was an instant hit. We will miss his humor and sharp instincts for what works on the Web.
Please join us in wishing Ezra, Melissa and Dylan the best and thanking them for their many contributions to The Post.