Put The Rake Down and Back Away Slowly

Can we stroll down memory lane for a second? Remember when Paul and I offered a grand unified theory of President Bush’s warrantless surveillance efforts? Or when I brought you General Petraeus’ own methodology for tabulating sectarian killings? How about the time I hung around the Rayburn building when Blackwater’s Erik Prince smirked his way through a House oversight hearing? Those times I embarrassed myself playing TV reporter? And, hey, Cookie Krongard — that was some fun, right?

Well, I’m getting wistful because today’s my last day at TPM. As great as working here has been — more on that after Boyz II Men do their thing — I’m transferring over to The Washington Independent, a forthcoming online experiment designed to shift the tectonic plates of investigative reporting. We launch on January 28 on washingtonindependent.com, and I hope you’ll check it out. (You might find some old friends there, too.) Until then, I’m having some fun with Jonah Goldberg’s brilliant book on my personal blog, if you’re interested.

You don’t need me to tell you how great TPM is, but I’m going to do it anyway. What Josh has built is, simply, the future of how people will consume news: discrete installments designed to build narratives, marrying original reporting, existing reporting, analysis and judgment. He’s asked his readers — you guys — to essentially become reporters, and that’s something new under the sun. More than anyone else in the media over the last eight years, Josh has succeeded in redefining the limits of the possible in journalism. In the process, he’s redefined TPM, which, when you think about it, took a lot of courage. I can’t wait to see, as a reader, where it goes next. Such dynamism is going to get taught in journalism schools one day. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of it. This job definitely turned out better than the last one.

TPM is also a family now, and one I’m going to dearly miss. Paul Kiel, the man who is TPMmuckraker, has the rare journalistic gift to make diligence appear effortless. He’s a singular talent, as you all know. David Kurtz is one of the best editors I’ve been lucky enough to work with, and a genius at rallying the troops during a slog. You simply can’t understand what’s happening in the presidential election without reading Greg Sargent and Eric Kleefeld, and I wish you got to see what great guys they are behind the scenes. Speaking of behind the scenes, Ben Craw, Andrew Golis and Rachel Weiner put in herculean efforts to keep these sites on the intertubes, and somehow still come through with just the right IM dis and witty reference. Rachel and I even went to the same junior high, it turns out, except she was in the snooty advanced program. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with a whole host of talented Muckterns: Grandmaster Will Thomas, Tanvir Vahora, Adrianne Jeffries, Peter Sheehy, Andrew Berger, and Diane Vacca.

Most of all, thanks to you guys for reading my stuff, and for cutting me some slack for not writing about U.S. attorneys or Duke Cunningham or some of the other awesome stories that TPM has pwnage over. You let me experiment with what topics should be Muckraker topics, and I thank you for it. See you in the comment threads.

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