Ezra Klein, who was propelled to fame as an in-depth columnist and blogger for the Washington Post, announced plans last week to leave the Post and start his own, independent news site.
Klein, whose Washington Post blog ‘Wonkblog’ provided complex and informative policy and economic analysis, initially asked the Post for $10 million to branch off and create the site, yet they turned down the idea, according to Politico. On Sunday, Klein announced that his new site will instead be backed by Vox Media.
Many view the Post’s decision as a mistake, considering Klein helped bring a large audience to the paper through his blog and appearances as an MSNBC correspondent. However, the decision makes sense when discussed in the context of the media’s economic hardships.
Klein’s venture is incredibly respectable and represents many of the greatest ideals of journalism. In a statement on The Verge, another Vox Media site, Klein said his news site will aim to both report the news and offer “crucial contextual information necessary to understand what’s happened.”
“Our mission is to create a site that’s as good at explaining the world as it is reporting on it,” said Klein.
This aim follows some of Klein’s best work at the Post and epitomizes many journalists’ goals to both inform and enlighten the public on the important happenings that affect their lives and their country. However, the venture is expensive, as well as time and labor consuming. In addition to the $10 million needed to start the site, Klein is also looking to hire three dozen staffers.
Although the explanatory news site is an honorable idea, the Post, one of the few reputable print media sources still afloat in the U.S., understandably declined due to the risks. The funds and time an undertaking such as this requires yearly is risky considering today’s public is not interested in explanatory, detail-driven policy reporting.
Media outlets have made extreme adjustments in recent years in order to deal with dwindling audiences. This involves a cut back on staff and resources, as well as a greater focus on news that appeals to consumers. Audiences show greater interest in soft news, and the policy focused explanatory news Klein plans to provide does not gain as much attention.
However, Klein’s idea is exceptional, and if any journalist in recent years has shown the passion, drive and ability to report informative news in a compelling manner, it is Klein. It is possible that his venture will be successful, and, nevertheless, it will be inspiring and revitalizing to original ideals of journalism.