Wonkblog creator Ezra Klein is planning to leave The Washington Post to start his very own website, just like all those other journalists who have become their own brands.
The New York Times, following up on Michael Calderone's scoop from last month, is reporting that Klein was hoping to create his own WaPo-affiliated but separate website that would provide "explanatory journalism" on several topics. He wanted an investment of "eight figures" from WaPo, which could mean anything from $10 million to $99 million but is a whole lot of money either way.
Klein went to WaPo publisher Katherine Weymouth and owner Jeff Bezos about his plans, but they weren't into it. Apparently Bezos, who said he was looking forward to experimenting and innovating at his $250 million purchase, wasn't ready to hand another $10+ million to hold on to his policy-explaining superstar. Klein has been talking to potential investors ever since.
Of course, the report could be wrong (and it's been written fairly cautiously, even saying that Klein could stay at WaPo "if talks about his plans were rekindled"). And NYT has been wrong about Klein's future plans in the past. Neither Klein nor WaPo would comment.
Then again, NYT correctly reported on the departure of its own Nate Silver. And Klein wouldn't be the first journo-star to test the waters of his own brand's sellability. Silver, Glenn Greenwald, and most recently Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg have all left the outlets that helped make them stars for potentially greener pastures, the success of which remains to be seen.