The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank has recently been in negotiations with Time magazine about writing a column similar to his popular “Washington Sketch” pieces.
Milbank confirmed to Politico that he had job discussions with the newsweekly but decided to remain at the Post. He declined to comment further.
A few thoughts: Why the hell would Milbank leave the Post?
He’s become a must-read in town and I’m not sure if Time’s more national readership (like when I used to get Time magazine for free in high school) would completely appreciate his Inside the Beltway jokes, references and perspective the way regular Post readers do. People who pick up Time for “The Secrets of Birth Order” may not care about Milbank noting the fact that, on SOTU night, “Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee…claimed her favorite seat on the aisle at 8:06 a.m.”
Susan Glasser helped make him a Page 2 regular and a Page 1 sometime’r. She’s helped pushed Milbank to a level of prominence and visibility that most every reporter would envy.
Time magazine? Sure, it’s fine and dandy, but consider this: Time competitor Newsweek recently hired Karl Rove and Markos Moulitsas as columnists (considered “big gets”) but even their columns don’t generate the kind of buzz that Milbank’s do. Perhaps people turn more to newspapers than magazines for columnists.
Doesn’t/shouldn’t Ana Marie Cox sort of have the snarky-Milbanky-beat covered for Time?
Milbank’s column virtually requires a daily paper reader, given the timeliness of his subjects and the fact that it takes a daily — not weekly, necessarily — news junkie to fully appreciate his work.
Sure, Time’s got a website, but it’s hardly better than washingtonpost.com, which is one of the best in the biz (as witnessed by the video opportunities it has provided Milbank).
UPDATE: One tipster says “why would dana leave? MORE Money?????”
Okay, sure. But would any reporter trade Milbank’s precious and rare prominence for an extra $20/30/50,000+ more? Perhaps. I doubt it. I’m sure the Post is paying him plenty enough.