John Solomon, who joined the Center for Public Integrity as executive editor last November, has resigned to become editor of news and investigations at Newsweek and The Daily Beast. The former Washington Times executive editor met with Tina Brown last fall and gave her some advice on the merger of the publications, reports Keach Hagey. Solomon tells her:
[Brown] gave me a call when she was coming to Washington. I was flattered when she called, and I realized that this is a person who believes that the best days of journalism are ahead of us, not behind us. There are so few people at the top of journalism who believe that.
Memo to CPI staffers
From: Buzenberg, Bill
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2011 7:07 PM
Subject: An important personnel change at the Center / Confidential until May 10th
After an excellent year of helping The Center for Public Integrity shape and then implement a new business strategy for sustaining digital investigative journalism, Executive Editor John Solomon has told me he will be stepping down to take a major web and editorial position at Newsweek/Daily Beast. Although I am sorry to see him go, I know that we all wish John well in the next phase of his illustrious career. His last day at the Center will be Friday, May 27th. John will still be based in Washington and says he’ll continue to look out for the Center from across town.
I want to thank John for bringing all of his many talents to the Center. He originally came to us for a three-month appointment as our first Journalist-in-Residence. He jumped into his role as a prolific investigative reporter, and enjoyed his work at the Center so much that he decided to stay. As Chief Digital Officer, he helped to plan and to launch iWatch News. As Executive Editor, he has been instrumental in implementing our overall transformation plan. It is clear that John’s energy and drive have helped change the metabolism of the Center’s investigative output, producing additional daily accountability reporting AND long-term investigative projects. We are a much stronger, more nimble news organization now as a result of John’s leadership of our editorial and Web operations.
I am confident that the Center is now well-positioned to continue to execute our business strategy. It won’t be the same without him, but we are on track to launch our digital daily iWatch newspaper later this month and we can anticipate that thousands of new members will join us to support the Center’s investigative efforts. We have much work still to do, but I know the Center will continue to be successful because of the talented staff we have here working every day to produce and distribute some of the best investigative reporting available on a state, national and international level.
Our great opportunity as a not-for-profit business is to do unfettered investigative work, reach a large audience, and create various revenue streams to have the resources to pay for this expanded operation. The potential for impact from our content has never been higher. John Solomon has helped us get where we needed to go a little faster than we might otherwise have been able to do, and for that we are all thankful. Best of luck, John.
William E. Buzenberg
iWatch News – Center for Public Integrity
910 17th Street NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20006
From: Solomon, John
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2011 10:39 PM
Subject: A new chapter
Over the last year we have boldly written a new chapter of the Center’s history, positioning the Center to fill the journalistic void of short-term accountability reporting while building a new business model that will generate earned revenue for the first time to supplement our philanthropic donor base. At every step of this amazing transformation, you have risen to the occasion with extraordinary work, ideas and collegiality while maintaining the Center’s core commitment to major projects.
The results are nothing short of jaw-dropping: You have produced 14 major projects in the last six months alone. Our Web traffic in April was eight times higher than in September. You helped launch the new iWatch News Web site and the daily digital newspaper, creating two new vehicles for earned revenue that have caught the eye of an entire industry. You struck your first syndication deal with Newsweek, and successfully merged a very talented staff from the Huffington Post Investigative Fund into our operation without even blinking. And your great investigative work has raised the Center’s profile to new heights with partnerships that have spanned the gamut from BBC, ABC, CBS and NPR to The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Politico and the multi-Pulitzer-winning Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
You are positioned for unparalleled future success that will further transform both the journalism and business model for the Center as it enters its second 20 years of great reporting. The “House that Chuck Started” with just an idea and a few bucks is now a major player on journalism’s front, able to impact the nation’s agenda on a daily basis. And each of you deserves the credit for thinking and acting boldly.
Confident that we have reached a safe and successful cruising altitude, I have decided it’s time for me to write a new chapter in my own career. And that means leaving behind one of my favorite jobs as the Center’s executive editor for a new challenge. As Bill told you, I have accepted an exciting and challenging job at Newsweek/Daily Beast. It’s an extraordinary opportunity for both me and my family, and it’s made bittersweet only by the fact that it means leaving behind an extraordinary group of colleagues at the Center.
I leave here inspired by what the Center, its board and its extraordinary leadership team under Bill have accomplished, and I will be rooting for your continued meteoric rise from a just few blocks away on Pennsylvania Avenue.