On July 1, The Washington Post welcomed John Keim to the Washington Redskins beat. Monday morning, it announced he is leaving for ESPN.
“It was fun while it lasted,” Keim writes in a farewell post.
The tough part is leaving behind a fantastic group at The Post. But ESPN made an offer that The Post couldn’t match. I might add, if there were two places I’d love to cover the Redskins these would be the top two places on my list – last year, this year, next year and forever. Both presented opportunities that played to my strengths. Both would qualify as dream positions.
Keim has covered the Redskins since 1994. He came to the Post from The Washington Examiner, which announced it would lay off most of its local reporters and shift its focus to national news and opinion earlier this year. It published its last daily edition in June.
After Nate Silver announced he would leave The New York Times for ESPN, the Post’s Erik Wemple said that in comparison to the sports juggernaut, the Times suffered from a “platform deficit.”
Here’s one proprietary advantage that the New York Times had over ESPN/ABC News: A famous, 161-year-old daily print edition. Any guesses as to how pivotal that product was in the negotiations?
On Twitter, Keim noted that he wasn’t a salaried employee at the Post.
@tomcblock thanks tom… was contractor with post; fulltime gig and benefits here. great situation
— John Keim (@john_keim) July 29, 2013
And indeed, when he joined the Post, Keim mentioned his oldest son was “entering college.” Reached by email, Keim wrote his status as a contractor, as well as benefits, “weighed big in the final decision.” The Post “knew it could not match [ESPN's offer] at this time,” he wrote. “They were very honest with me and I had no capital built up there so the timing was tough for them. I’m grateful for the professional way the post handled this situation.”
Correction: This post originally said the Examiner was shifting its focus to opinion journalism. It is doing national reporting as well.