David Pogue, the tech columnist popularly known for his goofy video demeanor over 13 years at The New York Times, is leaving the venerable paper to lead expanded consumer tech coverage at Yahoo, Chief Executive Marissa Mayer and Pogue himself announced in separate blog posts Monday.
Pogue is the latest of several high-profile figures at top news publications to jump ship, and not the first to do so thanks to a Silicon Valley benefactor. Last week, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who led its coverage of government online surveillance linked to leaks from Edward Snowden, announced he was leaving the paper to join a new venture backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
Mayer said Pogue will publish columns, blogs, and videos that "demystify the gadgets, apps, and technology that powers our users' daily lives."
Pogue said his ambitions go beyond just those kinds of posts but didn't give details. "My team and I have much bigger plans, too, for all kinds of online and real-world creations," he said. He also returned compliments to Mayer by calling the company "young, revitalized, aggressive" and "razor-focused" under her leadership.
About his reasons for leaving the Times, Pogue said it wasn't easy to depart but "13 years is a long time to stay in one place." He said he was attracted by the opportunity to build something new at Yahoo. He starts there in "a few weeks," according to his blog post.
In addition to Greenwald and Pogue, Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, the co-executive editors of the AllThingsD Web site, are courting other media outlets as well as financial investors, but are also parting ways from Wall Street Journal owner Dow Jones once their current contract lapses at the end of the year. They follow fellow Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, who is creating a technology news publication with other Journal writers she's recruited, currently operating off her personal WordPress page.
Pogue's move also fits the mold cast recently by one of his former New York Times colleagues, columnist Nate Silver. Silver, known for his data-based predictions of national elections with his FiveThirtyEight posts for the Times, recently cut ties with the paper to move to ESPN. The defections by the likes of Silver, Mossberg, and Pogue from the nation's top newspapers underscore the potential for journalists who carve out a popular brand in a particular niche of the news world, an industry that has struggled as readers and advertisers migrate away from print.
Pogue said his new position wouldn't stop his NOVA specials on PBS, "CBS Sunday Morning" stories, Missing Manual books, or column in "Scientific American."