I wasn’t sure whether this was general knowledge or not, but for those of us who have relied on its outstanding reporting over the past 15 years, it’s a pretty big deal.
The progressive site ThinkProgress shut down on Friday in yet another sign of how much the news media landscape has changed in the past decade.
“We are very sad to announce that after more than two months of searching, we have been unable to identify a new publisher for ThinkProgress, and we are left with no choice but to close ThinkProgress as an independent enterprise focused on original reporting,” the statement said.
The founder of ThinkProgress is Judd Legum, who started the site in 2005. The Center for American Progress, the site’s parent ”think tank,” put the site up for sale in July of this year. As no buyer for the site has been found, the site will shut down, presumably Friday night, as reported.
The New York Times’ “pre-obit” for the site, which will close out its primary news and topical reporting sections today, really does not begin to do it justice.
ThinkProgress became known as a reliable critic of the George W. Bush administration. With the emergence of social media, the site’s pointed progressive reporting soared and the staff grew.
Highlights for Mr. Legum include a piece on the Kuwait embassy’s decision to move its scheduled annual celebration to the Trump Hotel after the 2016 election and a 2017 investigation into the connection between white nationalism and wealthy institutions. The list of alumni includes a number of prominent writers and Faiz Shakir, who is now Bernie Sanders’s campaign manager.
The site’s “highlights” over its fifteen year history go well beyond what is referenced by the Times. For me, losing the perceptive legal reporting of Ian Millhiser and the environmental reporting of Joe Romm will be the most keenly felt. I hope and suspect that such incredibly talented writers will soon find new venues to continue their work. There may be some version of the “ClimateProgress” department of the site preserved.
The site will live on, without any journalists, as a place for academic writing. ClimateProgress, a section of the site that started as a separate blog, will continue under the guidance of its founder, according to the statement.
There are not many progressive media sites that provide the kind of reliable, informative, and well-sourced news and information that ThinkProgress consistently produced.
They will be sorely missed.