Matt Apuzzo headed to The New York Times

Apuzzo and Goldman. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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Matt Apuzzo, one half of the Associated Press duo that broke a bombshell series about constitutionally questionable NYPD surveillance, is leaving the newswire for a job at The New York Times, where he will pursue enterprise and investigative reporting focusing on the Justice Department, law and policy.

Sally Buzbee, the A.P.'s Washington bureau chief, broke the news to staff in a memo this afternoon.

"Matt has built a reputation as a whip-smart and intellectually aggressive reporter," Buzzbee said in the memo, which you can read below.

"The AP has been like my family for 11 years and I love this place," Apuzzo told Capital when reached for comment. "I just felt like this challenge was one I couldn't pass up."

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It's a huge loss for the A.P., where Apuzzo is easily one of the most high-profile reporters on staff.

The wire already lost Apuzzo's erstwhile reporting partner, Adam Goldman, to The Washington Post several months ago. And there has been a string of other departures lately, most recently Liz Sidoti, a national political editor who is taking a P.R. job at BP.

But Apuzzo's departure is also a coup for the Times, which has been making headlines due to the loss of numerous marquee journalists this year. The paper is currently reorganizing its Washington bureau under the new leadership of Carolyn Ryan.

"[Matt] looks forward to teaming up with other Times staffers, including Charlie Savage, who will continue to focus on the NSA story and national security legal issues, and Mike Schmidt, who covers the FBI," Ryan wrote in a separate memo to Times staff, which you can also read below.

Apuzzo and Goldman's NYPD series won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting last year. More recently, they made waves last week with their reportage on a C.I.A. contractor who has been missing in Iran since 2007.

The A.P. memo:

Colleagues,

I wanted to let you know that Matt Apuzzo is leaving the AP to take a job at the New York Times, beginning in January.

Matt has built a reputation as a whip-smart and intellectually aggressive reporter, beginning 11 years ago on cops in Hartford and as a corruption-chasing correspondent in New Haven. He came to Washington in 2006 as a legal affairs/courthouse reporter and put his byline on some of the biggest stories of the time: Abramoff, Libby, Blackwater, the economic meltdown.

He joined the investigative team in January 2009 and, along with Adam Goldman, turned to reporting on the CIA and secret prisons, terrorism, the FBI and most notably the NYPD Muslim surveillance story that won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 2011. He and Adam also broke the Levinson story this fall after three years of painstaking work. Most recently, Matt and Dina Cappiello also led an important series on ethanol.

None of that terrific lineup of stories even remotely captures Matt’s true impact across the AP, however. His mentoring and training of other reporters has benefited the entire global newsroom. His drive, discipline, good judgment and wisdom have touched countless people and countless pieces of journalism.

We wish Matt all the best in his new job, where he will focus on enterprise and investigative reporting around the Justice Department, law and policy. His last day here will be Jan. 10.

We will move quickly to ensure our investigative reporting efforts remain strong. My and our commitment to that reporting is solid and ongoing. And I look forward to much input from all of you as that effort, including hiring, progresses.

Very best,

Sally

The Times memo:

Folks,

I am thrilled to tell you that Matt Apuzzo, who won the Pulitzer Prize for a series revealing the New York Police Department’s surveillance of the Muslim community, will be joining us as a reporter in the Washington bureau.

Matt is a gifted reporter and an investigative natural. His high-impact stories have uncovered the locations of CIA prisons, revealed widespread cheating on FBI certification tests and identified the exclusive cadre of Wall Street bankers who get to call the Treasury secretary directly.

He grew up in Cumberland, a small town on the coast of Maine, and attended Colby College (alma mater of another New York Times star, Rebecca Corbett.) He began writing for the Waterville Morning Sentinel while still in school.

He began his professional career as a reporter for the Standard-Times in New Bedford, Mass., where he happened upon a major organized crime and corruption investigation involving heroin trafficking in the fishing town.

He then moved to the AP, based in Connecticut, during an extraordinary era of public corruption in that state, when the governor, the governor’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff, the NAACP chairman, three mayors and the state treasurer all went to prison.

He became an investigative reporter for the AP in Washington, and with his colleague, Adam Goldman, produced the series that showed how the NYPD systematically spied on Muslim Americans and built databases of where they ate, shopped, lived and prayed.

Matt will be joining us in the Washington bureau, covering Justice. A natural collaborator, he looks forward to teaming up with other Times staffers, including Charlie Savage, who will continue to focus on the NSA story and national security legal issues, and Mike Schmidt, who covers the FBI.

He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Becky, an immigration lawyer, and two kids: Dominic, 4, and Daphne, who is almost 2.

Please join me in welcoming him.