Rolling Stone's loss is Pierre Omidyar's gain. Matt Taibbi is joining First Look Media, the same organization where Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras are on the masthead at The Intercept— but Taibbi will lead his own publication focused on financial and political corruption. The new magazine does not yet have a name or a precise launch date.
Ravi Somaiya was first with the scoop today at the NYT:
Mr. Taibbi will start his own publication focusing on financial and political corruption, he said in an interview on Wednesday. First Look is financed by the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who is worth $8.5 billion, according to Forbes. Mr. Omidyar has pledged $250 million to the project.
"It's obvious that we're entering a new phase in the history of journalism," Mr. Taibbi said. "This is clearly the future, and this was an opportunity for me to be part of helping to found something and create something that might carry us into the next generation."
Looks like @pierre likes vampire squid: he hired @mtaibbi for First Look http://t.co/W0U2qNdijT
— John Schwartz — NYT (@jswatz) February 20, 2014
And here's the press release from First Look Media:
First Look Media, the news organization created by Pierre Omidyar, today announced that acclaimed journalist and New York Times best-selling author Matt Taibbi will launch First Look's second digital magazine. Taibbi will help assemble a top-notch team of journalists and bring his trademark combination of reporting, analysis, humor and outrage to the ongoing financial crisis – and to the political machinery that makes it possible. The magazine will launch later this year.
Taibbi comes to First Look from Rolling Stone, where he served as a contributing editor for the past 10 years. During his tenure, he built a large and devoted following that has grown to rely on his in-depth and irreverent reporting on Wall Street and Washington. Whether busting Goldman Sachs for market manipulation or revealing the hidden roots of the student loan crisis, Taibbi has exposed and explained the most complicated financial scandals of the day with a fresh and compelling approach to journalism that has enraged and inspired millions of readers.
"Matt is one of the most influential journalists of our time," said Eric Bates, executive editor of First Look Media. "His incisive explorations of the financial crisis – and Wall Street's undue influence over our political system – have played a key role in helping to inform the public and transform the national debate. He is a journalist who can explain what a credit default swap is and why it's important – and, make you bust out laughing while he's doing it. I look forward to having him on our team and helping him launch a dynamic new site unlike any other."
While at Rolling Stone, Taibbi won a National Magazine Award for his reporting on the 2008 presidential election, and was a finalist for his coverage of Occupy Wall Street. The author of two New York Times bestsellers, he earlier worked as reporter for the Moscow Times, an English-language expatriate newspaper, and co-founded The eXile, a bi-weekly newspaper based in Moscow. The paper became infamous for its satirical wit, as well as for hard-nosed reporting of corruption in both the Russian government and the American aid community. The paper was the only publication to correctly predict the 1998 Russian financial crisis.
"This is an incredible opportunity and a wonderful creative challenge," said Taibbi. "I'm looking forward to helping build a team that produces hard-hitting coverage of politics and the economy, but delivers it in a way that's fun, funny, and accessible. It's a new golden age for reporting and it's a real privilege to be part of this effort to create something innovative and lasting."
Taibbi will be based in New York City. The name and launch date of his digital magazine will be announced in the coming months. First Look Media's first online publication, The Intercept, led by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill, launched on February 10.