Tulsa World loses four journalists to former World publisher’s soon-to-launch news site

Talking Points Memo reported this afternoon that Tulsa World staff writer Dylan Goforth, enterprise editor Ziva Branstetter and two other World journalists have quit the paper. The TPM piece – headlined, “Reporters who published story on Okla. deputy resign suddenly” – includes this passage:

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I’ve confirmed that the ex-World journalists have joined an enterprise/investigative news site being launched by Robert (Bobby) Lorton III, bobbywho was the World’s CEO and publisher before Warren Buffett’s BH Media bought the paper in 2013. His family had owned the World for over a century. Lorton, 46, a self-described “news junkie,” went to work for a bank after his paper was sold – only because he wanted something to do, I’m told. My source adds that the news site, called The Frontier, is considered a “prestige project” for Lorton.

Cary Aspinwall, who has also joined Lorton’s team, and Branstetter were named Pulitzer finalists today for their World stories on botched executions in Oklahoma.

Update – Here’s an excerpt from a press release that came out this evening:

Today, Branstetter, Aspinwall and two of their peers – Kevin Canfield and Dylan Goforth – announced they have left the Tulsa World to help create The Frontier, a new digital media company. The Tulsa- based website will focus on in-depth and investigative news within the Tulsa region and beyond.

Former Tulsa World publisher Robert E. Lorton, III founded the project.

“I have a deep passion for Tulsa and an even deeper passion for covering the news in a way that makes a difference,” said Lorton. “Through in-depth and investigative journalism, we will hold the powerful accountable, shine a light on things kept in the dark while also highlighting the best of Tulsa and the surrounding state of Oklahoma.”

The organization will provide news for paid members and will not sell advertising. Its website will launch in May.

* Tulsa World reporters who did story on Oklahoma deputy suddenly resign (talkingpointsmemo.com)

Note: I earlier used a photo of Robert Lorton Jr. instead of Robert Lorton III.

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