February 10, 2014 Last Updated 9:20 am

Former editor Bill Keller to leave NYT to join The Marshall Project as editor-in-chief

The New York Times columnist and former editor Bill Keller will be leaving the newspaper to join The Marshall Project as editor-in-chief. The new venture will focus on criminal justice reporting.

The Marshall Project was founded by hedge fund manager Neil Barsky, who will also serve as publisher. “Our goal is to create a first-class news organization that will spark a national conversation about the troubled US criminal justice system,” Barsky said in the announcement of the move.

Barsky was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal before entering the world of finance.

“The Marshall Project is an irresistible opportunity to take some of what I’ve learned from The Times’s past decade of reinvention, to learn some new things, and to build a modern journalistic enterprise from scratch,” Keller said in the announcement. “The New York Times has given me some of the best jobs in journalism, and many of the best colleagues. I’m deeply grateful for the adventures and the lessons and the camaraderie of the world’s finest news organization, and I’m proud to think I played some part in securing its future.”

“While I am sorry to lose Bill’s thoughtful and experienced voice from our Op-Ed page, I am excited for him,” Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of the NYT, said. “He is a great choice to build what sounds to be an exciting new journalistic organization. Bill has been a highly valued and trusted colleague in so many ways over several decades and I will miss him. He leaves with my sincere gratitude and best wishes.”

The Marshall Project is the latest journalism start-up launched by someone from outside the traditional media world. This new non-profit effort will be funded by foundations and individual contributors and will have an annual operating budget of between $4 and $5 million, with staff of 20 to 25 journalists.

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