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Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian (see disclosure) blogger and journalist who worked with Edward Snowden and Laura Poitras to publish a series of revelations about government spying programs in the U.S. and U.K., is leaving the newspaper for what he described as a “once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity that no journalist could possibly decline,” BuzzFeed reported Tuesday.
Greenwald told BuzzFeed that because the news of his departure leaked earlier than expected, “I’m not yet able to provide any details of this momentous new venture,” but that more information will be forthcoming soon. (Update: Reuters reported Tuesday evening that the new venture is funded at least in part by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who also founded the Hawaiian news site Honolulu Civil Beat.) For now, he described the new organization as a “very well-funded…very substantial” “general media outlet and news site” that he’ll be reporting, writing and hiring for. BuzzFeed also reports that Greenwald will continue to live in Brazil but that the new venture will be based out of New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
A Guardian spokeswoman confirmed Greenwald’s departure, saying, “We are of course disappointed by Glenn’s decision to move on, but can appreciate the attraction of the new role he has been offered.”
Greenwald does not have a traditional journalism background: He started out as a blogger, writing for Salon and then moving to the Guardian in 2012. As my colleague Mathew Ingram wrote this summer, the traditional definition of “journalist” may not matter anymore, but “an ‘us vs. them’ mentality, in which bloggers like Greenwald or more extreme personalities like Julian Assange are treated like invaders storming the barricades of the journalism establishment,” has remained. However, Greenwald’s blogging background may have been one of the reasons that former CIA staffer Edward Snowden chose to contact him with information about the NSA scandal in the first place.
Disclosure: Guardian News & Media is an investor in the parent company of GigaOm/paidContent.