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Ezra Klein Raids Washington Post For 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. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK -- After leaving The Washington Post to start a new venture, Ezra Klein said he didn't want to build a "super Wonkblog," the popular policy vertical he launched for the newspaper in 2011.

But Klein's clearly looking back to Wonkblog, and the Post more broadly, in seeking talent for the still-unnamed "Project X."

On Wednesday, Post editors announced that designer and developer Yuri Victor was leaving for Vox, according to a memo obtained by The Huffington Post. Victor joined the Post in 2011 and helped launch the Wonkblog spinoff site, KnowMore.

Victor is the ninth Post staffer, including Klein, to join Vox in the past six weeks.

The Huffington Post first reported in December that Klein was considering leaving the Post to launch a new venture and, in early January, how he'd approached Wonkblog staffers about joining.

Klein originally left later that month with only Know More blogger Dylan Matthews and director of platforms Melissa Bell, which suggested there wouldn't be much of an exodus. But since then, Vox has hired journalists Sarah Kliff, Brad Plumer, Timothy Lee, Max Fisher and Evan Soltas.

The Post will continue Wonkblog with a new team and is expanding policy coverage through a new initiative led by economics writer Jim Tankersley.

Following Klein's departure, publisher Katharine Weymouth defended the Post's decision not to fund his new explanatory journalism project, the cost of which was reportedly over $10 million.

“It seemed to be potentially a bigger distraction that would take resources without building the Post,” Weymouth told Washingtonian. “Had he wanted to keep Wonkblog within the Post, that would have been a different story.”

And yet The Post is losing some resources as staffers jump ship for "Project X." So far, half of the Vox startup's current 18-person team hails from the Post newsroom.

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