News reports are emerging that Glenn Greenwald is leaving The Guardian to join a new media venture that is reportedly being funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and possibly others. The parting has been friendly with both Greenwald and Guardian spokespeople expressing mutual respect and gratitude for what they have been able to accomplish together, especially on the blockbuster Edward Snowden revelations.
Greenwald was not your normal media employee, being more along the lines of a contractor who had considerable autonomy.
But Greenwald never functioned as a typical employee of a news organization. He told BuzzFeed in August that he had not shared all of Snowden’s files with The Guardian, and that “only [filmmaker] Laura [Poitras] and I have access to the full set of documents which Snowden provided to journalists.” The Guardian, facing intense pressure from the British government, has continued to publish Snowden’s revelations at a deliberate pace in recent weeks; but Greenwald has moved more quickly on his own, publishing stories in Brazil and India. He said recently that he will also publish stories soon in Le Monde.
Greenwald seems really excited about this new opportunity.
“My role, aside from reporting and writing for it, is to create the entire journalism unit from the ground up by recruiting the journalists and editors who share the same journalistic ethos and shaping the whole thing — but especially the political journalism part — in the image of the journalism I respect most,” he said.
Greenwald will continue to live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he said, and would bring some staff to Rio, but the new organization’s main hubs will be New York City; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco, he said.
The venture, which he said had “hired a fair number of people already,” will be “a general media outlet and news site — it’s going to have sports and entertainment and features. I’m working on the whole thing but the political journalism unit is my focus.”
Greenwald said he looked forward to creating a new organization with “no preexisting institutional strictures on what you can do.”
And he said his move is driven solely by the opportunity presented.
“When people hear what it is, there is almost no journalist who would say no to it,” he said.
I am anxious to see what comes out of it but I expect it to be good with little of that one namby-pamby stuff that passes for much of journalism. There are a lot of good journalists who I am sure would love to work in a place that supports true investigative journalism without being deferential to governments.