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Washington Post's Brad Plumer, Sarah Kliff, Max Fisher Joining Ezra Klein's Vox Venture

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EZRA KLEIN
Journalist, columnist, and blogger Ezra Klein speaks about President Barack Obama's signature health care law at the Families USA?s 19th Annual Health Action Conference in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. | ASSOCIATED PRESS
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NEW YORK -- The Washington Post's Brad Plumer and Sarah Kliff are joining Ezra Klein's new venture to be launched with Vox Media, according to newsroom sources familiar with the plans.

Plumer covers environmental policy issues for the Post's Wonkblog, which was run by Klein until his departure last month. Kliff reports on health care policy.

Klein, Plumer and Kliff declined to comment, as did a Washington Post spokeswoman.

Plumer and Kliff won't be the first Post staffers to join the new explanatory journalism venture, tentatively called "Project X." Director of Platforms Melissa Bell and Dylan Matthews, who ran a Wonkblog spin-off called Know More, both left with Klein.

The Huffington Post first reported in December that Klein was considering starting his own venture, and reported on Jan. 4 that he'd expressed interest in hiring all members of the Wonkblog staff, including Matthews, Plumer, Kliff and Lydia DePillis.

DePillis is staying at the Post. Beyond Wonkblog, there's currently speculation in the newsroom, according to multiple Post sources, that foreign policy blogger Max Fisher may head to the new venture. When reached by phone, Fisher said he had to go to a meeting and could not talk.

The Post will continue to run Wonkblog and announced plans last week to expand policy coverage under economics writer Jim Tankersley.

Slate's Matt Yglesias, a close friend of Klein, has also joined the Vox Media site, which is expected to hire dozens of employees at the start.

Klein has said the Vox project will not be a "super Wonkblog," but he hasn't revealed many other details. In a post for Vox's technology site The Verge, Klein said that he, Bell and Yglesias are trying to answer the question: "why hadn't the Internet made the news better at delivering crucial context alongside new information?"

A New York magazine profile published Sunday described the forthcoming site as "a 21st-century encyclopedia as much as a digital news site."

UPDATE: 1:42 p.m. -- The Washington Post confirmed Wednesday afternoon that Plumer, Kliff and Fisher are leaving to join Vox.

Post executive editor Marty Baron said in an email to The Huffington Post that "it's no surprise that our staff would be a source of talent."

"Fortunately, our reservoir of policy-oriented journalists is very deep," Baron continued. "And while we're sorry to lose valued colleagues, we are confident in our ability to fill open positions with highly skilled journalists. Right now, we're overwhelmingly busy interviewing candidates for the dozens of positions that became available with the major expansion we recently announced. Interest in joining The Post has been immense and gratifying, and we're delighted with the caliber of candidates we're seeing. They have justifiable optimism about our future, and those we're hiring are genuinely invested in our collective success."

The Post's full memo to staff on the departures is below:

We regret to announce that Brad Plumer, Sarah Kliff and Max Fisher are leaving the Post to join Vox.

Brad and Sarah were the original hires to Wonkblog, and they quickly became stars in their own right. Brad, who had been an associate editor at The New Republic, has been a significant voice in coverage of issues related to energy and the environment. His easy writing style and versatility made him a utility player who could anchor any issue and make it look deceptively easy.

Sarah, who came to us from Politico, became a must-read on all matters related to health care and the Affordable Care Act. She set new standards through her ability to file multiple times for the Web and still write A1 stories and Sunday Business covers -- not to mention a weekly online column.

We will be filling Brad and Sarah's positions on Wonkblog very soon. Their last day will be Feb. 14.

Max, who came to us from the Atlantic, has had an enormously successful run in anchoring our WorldViews blog, which debuted in October 2012. His rare gift for explaining complicated subjects by combining sophistication and accessibility have won us a large and growing audience to posts like "40 maps that explain the world" and "Nine questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask."

Max will be succeeded at the helm of WorldViews by Adam Taylor, who as a senior editor at Business Insider has demonstrated his skill at helping readers make sense of the news from around the world. Max's last day will be Feb. 21.

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