"It's not a goodbye post," a friend just said to me. "It's a 'see you later' post." And that's probably true. This will be my last real blog post at The American Prospect. This site will go dark for the rest of the week. On Monday, it will move to the Washington Post (the archives will remain at this address). The new URL will be http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/. I'll see all of you then. It'll go by quick. Just you watch.
But today does mark an end. I've been at TAP for almost four years. I moved to Washington, DC in September of 2005 to take the writing fellowship. The next year, I became a staff writer. The year after that, an associate editor. I've seen three editors, two offices, and four writing fellows. I've shared a cubicle with Matt Yglesias and a hotel room with Mark Schmitt. I've spent long nights at The Black Rooster. I have stolen candy from Richard Boriskin's candy bowl and I have stolen candy from Ann Friedman's candy bowl. I've written dozens of features, around a hundred columns, and thousands of blog posts containing literally millions of words. And there's not been a day that I haven't been proud to work here.
That's true, of course, because of the magazine's politics. But also because of its approach. The Prospect is one of the few unrepentantly wonkish outfits in existence. It's one of the few magazines where I could've pitched a profile of Congressional Budget Director Peter Orszag -- this was before he became a star, mind you -- and been given the enthusiastic go-ahead. My editor's particular interest in the piece was the opportunity to explore the importance of the budget scoring process. In the editing process, we actually cut the glitzy stuff about Orszag's tilt towards behavioral economics.
Pause on that for a minute. The Prospect, to its credit, has always rejected the idea that readers wouldn't be interested in something even though it was important. To be fair, that's a product of our business model: A non-profit isn't dependent on advertising revenue, and so can take chances that a for-profit can't. But the Prospect's model has not been disproven. Quite the opposite, I think.
The Obama era has been a period of policy. Of substance. The drama is in the budget, the composition of the stimulus bill, the survival of the banking system, the inclusion of a public plan, the fight over climate change. It's not that we've put away childish things. Rush Limbaugh's name, for instance, is still in the news. But we've also learned to pay attention to adult things. The Prospect has been doing that for almost two decades now, and they provided me with a home to do the same. And the Prospect was right. Turns out that you can build an audience with charts and graphs and hearings and budget commentary. The words "reconciliation," "nationalization," and "community rating" do not scare readers away. Scatterplots do not harm your traffic. Indeed, the Washington Post is asking me to cover the same topics in the same way at their site. But I would never have had this opportunity, or been able to build this model, without TAP -- both the space it gave me and the guidance it provided me. I'll be forever grateful to it.
Which is why, even though I'm leaving, I urge you to stay. That's not to say you shouldn't immediately bookmark my new blog and check it obsessively every day. It'll have that same great Ezra taste, but with more resources around to make my charts look pretty. But make sure Tapped is on your blogroll, too. And make sure you're receiving the American Prospect magazine at home. And make sure you're checking out the homepage every morning. Keep an eye on the place for me.
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