Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown announced earlier this afternoon that she hired The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz to take over as her website’s Washington Bureau chief.
“It was a hard decision for me to make because newsprint is in my veins and I have worked here for almost three decades,” Mr. Kurtz told The Observer on the phone this afternoon. “But once I was able to clear that psychological hurdle I liked a lot of what Tina had to say and the role that she laid out for me.”
Mr. Kurtz has worked at the Post since 1981 in a number of roles, most recently as a media columnist. He said that he “essentially grew up” at the newspaper.
We asked Mr. Kurtz if it felt like selling-out to leave the Post for a news website. “I don’t know why anyone would say that,” he said. “What I like about The Daily Beast is that it’s a very solid journalistic enterprise. It practices journalism without paper. I’m spending more and more of my time online.”
“In the case of The Daily Beast, I have no hesitation because the quality of the contributors are extremely high and there are good editors overseeing what they do,” Mr. Kurtz added. He also noted that the site pays its contributors and that is important to him as a professional journalist.
Mr. Kurtz said that he was excited by the chance to help craft Washington Coverage at The Beast, which turns two-years-old tomorrow. “At the moment there are a number of excellent Washington contributors, and I am going to write and report at my usual breakneck pace. But over time we hope to expand the bureau and I’d very much like to be a part of that,” Mr. Kurtz said. “Watch that space.”
The Observer asked Mr. Kurtz if his move to The Beast had anything to do with a potential deal between Newsweek owner Sidney Harman and Barry Diller. “The short answer is no,” Mr. Kurtz said. “I had no idea what will happen at Newsweek and I made my decision based on wanting to work for The Daily Beast. Period.”
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