MARY LOUISE KELLY, host:
One of the pillars of Washington's media establishment made news himself today. Howard Kurtz, a three-decade veteran of the Washington Post, says he's jumping ship, and he's headed to Tina Brown's website, the Daily Beast. Kurtz will take up the position of Washington bureau chief.
Howard Kurtz is on the line now, from his soon-to-be ex-office at the Washington Post. And Howard Kurtz, why make the move?
Mr. HOWARD KURTZ (Journalist, Washington Post): You know, it's a very difficult decision for me because I essentially grew up at the Washington Post. I have printer's ink in my veins. I always thought I would be a newspaper man.
But we're all sort of hurtling into the digital future. And the opportunity at the Daily Beast to help shape what's essentially a two-year-old start-up site, and to expand the Washington presence, was too tempting to pass up.
KELLY: I think your announcement today will catch a lot of people in the media establishment by surprise, and that's in part because you, in your columns at the Post, have chronicled the challenges that these new ventures - such as the Daily Beast - have had in financing themselves, and in getting taken seriously as a primary news source. Is that what you would like to see the Daily Beast become - a primary news source, breaking news?
Mr. KURTZ: I think the Beast is already on its way to becoming that, as well as some other sites that are gaining a lot of traction. And look, there's a million new sites out there. Some of them will make it. Some of them won't. Some of them will be taken seriously. Some of them are just fodder for entertainment.
My judgment is that the Daily Beast is going to end up on the plus side of that equation, and I would like to be part of that future. I mean, look, everybody's doing this - you know, newspapers, magazines. They're all beefing up their websites, trying to move a little quicker.
And I am spending more and more of my time online. I still love print; I don't think it's going away. But this seemed like a good point in my career - and I've been writing about others making similar moves - to give this a shot.
KELLY: In your years, many years of covering the media, Howard Kurtz, when did you start to look at online journalism, at news websites that are Web-only, and start thinking, hey, there might be a home for me there, as opposed to thinking hey, a novelty, we'll see where it goes?
Mr. KURTZ: Well, you know, it's funny. I was the first blogger at the Washington Post.
KELLY: Is that right?
Mr. KURTZ: Back in 2000. That's a decade ago. And the idea of not only writing online - there was no paper - but linking to your competition was a strange phenomenon to some people; not to me.
So I've been more and more interested in the online world. I think that's where a lot of the action and the energy is. But only recently did I think that I might take that plunge myself.
KELLY: May I ask, was there a buyout involved?
Mr. KURTZ: There was no buyout. There's been four rounds of buyouts at the Washington Post. I didn't look at any of them because I was very happy working here. The DNA is kind of part of me. But I just did reach a point in my career where I felt like if I was going to be more of a blogger and try to break news online and try to do analysis, thoughtful analysis online - I mean, anybody can put up a bunch of posts. I try to have some high-nutrition content to what I write, even at the faster speed - that it would be an interesting challenge to try to do it somewhere else.
So no buyout, just some kind of a bittersweet day, talking to my friends and colleagues here in the newsroom.
KELLY: Well, this is clearly a loss for the Post. Should we read anything into this about your views of where the Post, and print in general, are going?
Mr. KURTZ: I think the Washington Post is going to be around for a long, long time, including in printed form. Maybe that's because I still believe in the romance of the newspaper hitting your front porch. I delivered a newspaper when I was 13 years old.
So it's not a commentary on the future of the Washington Post. It's more of a career decision about what kind of space I wanted to operate in, and choosing to become part of an interesting and challenging future.
KELLY: All right, thanks very much.
Mr. KURTZ: Nice to talk to you.
KELLY: That's Howard Kurtz, talking about the announcement he made today that he is leaving his post at the Washington Post, and moving to the Daily Beast.
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