Jim Brady Leaves D.C. Startup TBD.com Less Than 3 Months After Launch

Founding editor to be replaced by Erik Wemple; “stylistic differences” cited

Last Updated: November 5, 2010 @ 4:05 PM

Jim Brady, head of Washington, D.C.'s local news site TBD.com, is leaving the startup. Brady confirmed the rumor — circling the Beltway media scene rather quickly this afternoon — via a tweet.

The reason: "stylistic differences," between Brady and publisher Robert Allbritton, Allbritton wrote in a memo to TBD staffers. Erik Wemple, Brady's deputy, will replace him.

It doesn't sound like Brady's terribly upset: "It is true that I'm leaving TBD. But the site is in great hands going forward, so keep it in your bookmarks. :-)"

The site launched in August.

Here's the memo:

To my TBD colleagues,

I want to report on two important pieces of news about TBD …

The first is that Jim Brady, my partner in launching this enterprise and someone who is heavily responsible for many of the terrific innovations in technology and community engagement that have led to our successful launch, has decided to move on.

The second is that Fred Ryan and I have made a decision along with editor Erik Wemple to begin a new round of investment in journalistic resources for TBD. To me, the creation of outstanding original content has always been what will determine the long-term success of TBD.

I’d like to share a bit more on both these moves.

In his positions at AOL, Washingtonpost.com, and now at TBD, Jim has proven himself to be a true visionary and a champion of innovation in the world of online journalism.  The results of his expertise are self-evident: our site is being studied and praised throughout the community of people studying the future of media.

As we talked about the next phase of our growth, it seemed clear to Jim and I both that we had some stylistic differences. So with mutual respect—and in my case a lot of appreciation for the work he has done across the company for the past year—we decided to shake hands and go in different directions.

What’s important for all of you to know is that our main mission remains unchanged. We are going to build on the success to date with the aim of making TBD the dominant online local news organization in Washington and the Virginia and Maryland suburbs. What we have achieved over the past generation at WJLA and NewsChannel 8—a robustly profitable business that produces the region’s most outstanding local journalism—is what we are on the path to achieving here.

There’s more work for all of us to do: More hiring, more innovation in social media, community engagement, and above all more original reporting and creative story-telling.

So thanks to Jim for the great start he has provided to us, and thanks to all of you for plunging in with such inspiring results on an enterprise that is being watched around the nation by everyone who cares about the future of local news.