Reporter quits St. Louis Post-Dispatch to start opposition research firm

Jake Wagman, who leaves the Post-Dispatch after nine years, says his new firm, Shield Political Research, “will offer a fresh and innovative approach to opposition research for candidates and campaigns” by “using public documents and the tools of investigative reporting to produce original research.”

He writes:

I’ll always be bullish on newspapers in general, and the Post-Dispatch in particular, but over the last several years — while shining a light on lawmaker perks, reporting on government waste and peering into the backgrounds of countless individuals running for office— I realized my passion was holding candidates and public officials accountable.

I also realized that the state of the media industry means many newsrooms no longer have the resources they need to thoroughly scrutinize those seeking public office.

Wagman’s farewell letter to the Post-Dispatch staff is after the jump.

Dear Colleagues:

It is with a mix of sadness and anticipation that I announce my departure from the Post-Dispatch.

Nothing makes me more proud than to have had the privilege over the last nine years to have covered the best city in the country, with the finest folks in any newsroom anywhere.

However, my wife has received an outstanding career opportunity that will require us to leave St. Louis.

Some of you may know, though, I have longed to try something new, while following my passion for keeping public officials accountable.

I now have the perfect opportunity to do so.

If you’re interested in what I’ll be doing next, you can visit shieldresearch.com.

I have so many people to thank for making my time at the Post-Dispatch a tremendous experience — from the copy desk and night editors who numerous times saved me from committing an embarrassing gaffe, to the newsroom veterans who always made time to listen to a story idea or circuitous rant.

The thing I am perhaps most thankful for is those editors who, nearly a decade ago, took a chance on hiring a 23-year-old kid who didn’t know Chouteau from Schoendienst, and had no idea of the wonderful journey ahead of him in St. Louis.

Since then, the paper has afforded me countless opportunities, for which I will always be grateful.

Of course, the Post-Dispatch, like all newspapers, has its challenges, but they will be solved the way a reporter tackles everything— with ingenuity and hard work.

I will never worry about the Post-Dispatch’s ability to thrive because I know the caliber of the people who put it out each day, and the invaluable wisdom and friendship they have shared.

Thank you so much for all of it— I will always treasure my years reporting for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Yours truly,

JAKE

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