Dave Weigel leaving Washington Post for Semafor
Campaign reporter Dave Weigel is leaving The Washington Post to join a new global news startup spearheaded by former New York Times media columnist Ben Smith and former Bloomberg CEO Justin Smith.
The Smiths, who are not related, have dubbed their new project “Semafor,” and announced a slew of hires on Wednesday ahead of the outlet’s anticipated launch this fall.
Among them was Weigel, a top campaign reporter at the Post who was suspended earlier this summer after a fellow staffer in his newsroom publicly chastised him for retweeting a Twitter post containing a sexist joke.
Weigel has since been reinstated by the Post and the reporter who publicly criticized both he and the newspaper over its handling of the episode, Felicia Sonmez, has since been fired.
Along with Weigel, Semafor announced a number of key editorial hires, including reporters and editors who will work out of Washington, D.C., and cover politics and policy.
They include Benjy Sarlin of NBC News, who will serve as Semafor’s Washington bureau chief, Shelby Talcott of the conservative Daily Caller website who will be covering Donald Trump and national Republicans for Semafor, and Morgan Chalfant, previously a White House and national security reporter at The Hill.
“When Gina and I started working together in May, we knew that finding the right people to join us in these early stages was foundational to Semafor’s ambition of building a news organization around the voices and work of some of the world’s greatest journalists,” Ben Smith wrote to his team announcing the hires.
“Building a dream team from scratch is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any editor and the chance to do that is one of the big reasons why we’re both here. So, this summer we set about finding a proven group of journalists and future stars who would shape and define our newsroom with us.”
Ben Smith and Justin Smith announced in January they would be starting a new global news company and in March named former Reuters executive editor Gina Chua as Semafor’s top editor.
Semafor is slated to launch sometime this fall.