In a surprising move, powerhouse media reporter Howard Kurtz has left the Washington Post to become Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast.
Kurtz, who also hosts "Reliable Sources" on CNN, has worked for the Post for 29 years and has become one of the most prominent media reporters in the country. In an announcement on its website, the Daily Beast said Kurtz will "oversee the two-year-old site's coverage of Washington and will report and write regularly on politics, media, and the intersection of the two." Kurtz will also continue hosting his CNN television show, "Reliable Sources."
"After a lifetime in newspapers, I'm ready for the challenge of fast-paced online journalism," Kurtz said in the announcement. He also posted a tweet about the news:
GOING DIGITAL: I'm leaving The Washington Post to become DC bureau chief for the Daily Beast. Great new challenge. http://bit.ly/b0RCDm
In an interview with TBD, Kurtz refused to say whether the Post had fought to keep him (sources told The Upshot's Michael Calderone that there has been tension between Kurtz and top editor Marcus Brauchli) and professed excitement at being able to exert his influence on the Daily Beast, which is tiny in comparison to the Post:
"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...I think the Post has a really good web site, 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."
In a note to the staff of the Post late Tuesday afternoon, editors praised Kurtz fulsomely, saying that he "single-handedly defined this huge sector" and was an "indispensable authority" in the media field. The memo also mentioned that the paper will start the search for Kurtz's replacement.
Kurtz's move is only the latest high-profile new media hire. In recent weeks, the Huffington Post has added longtime Washington correspondent Howard Fineman and business reporter Peter Goodman to its staff.