Jim Brady, who oversaw the creation of TBD.com, is leaving the site

Jim Brady, second from right.
Jim Brady, second from right. (Bill O'leary - Washington Post)
Buy Photo
By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jim Brady, who oversaw the creation of the local-news Web site TBD.com, is leaving only three months after its launch.

Brady, who was the site's general manager, won't be replaced, but some of his duties will be picked up by Erik Wemple, the site's editor.

Friday's move surprised many who have watched the development of the site and have praised it for its blend of original reporting, local-news "aggregation" and multimedia integration.

But Brady said in an interview that he had "differences over broader strategy" with top managers at TBD's parent company, Allbritton Communications, including chief executive Robert Allbritton. "There was a sense over the last two months that we were headed toward this point," Brady said, declining to be specific.

He said his decision to leave was not a reflection on the site's prospects since it launched on Aug. 9. "I think it's going really well. Our traffic is better than where I thought it would be at this point." He declined to provide numbers on the site's traffic.

TBD -- the name stands for "to be determined," an offbeat fallback when editors couldn't agree on another name -- launched to generally positive reviews in August. In addition to news coverage of the Washington area provided by an editorial staff of 35, the site incorporates content from dozens of local blogs. It also cross-promotes its work with TBD TV, the cable news channel formerly known as NewsChannel 8. Allbritton, based in Arlington, also owns WJLA-TV (Channel 7) and the Politico newspaper and Web site.

Brady, 43, is the former executive editor of washingtonpost.com. Before that, he was a veteran editorial employee of AOL. His hiring by TBD was seen as an indication of Allbritton's intent to challenge The Post as the region's dominant purveyor of local news.

In a staff memo announcing Brady's departure, Allbritton called Brady "my partner" in developing the site. " . . . Jim has proven himself to be a true visionary and a champion of innovation in the world of online journalism," Allbritton said.

But, Allbritton added: "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."

Allbritton said in his memo that his company intended to increase its investment in "journalistic resources" for TBD, but he was not specific. Brady said Friday that this was news to him, and that he saw it as a positive factor for the site.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company