Joshua Micah Marshall (born February
15, 1969 in St. Louis, Missouri) is an American Polk Award-winning
journalist who founded Talking Points Memo, which The New York Times
Magazine called "one of the most popular and most respected sites" in
the blogosphere. He currently presides over a network of sites that
operate under the TPM Media banner and average 400,000 page views every
weekday and 750,000 unique visitors every month. Marshall and his work
have been profiled by The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the
Financial Times, National Public Radio, The New York Times Magazine, the
Columbia Journalism Review, Bill Moyers Journal, and GQ. Hendrik
Hertzberg, a senior editor at The New Yorker, compares Marshall to the
influential founders of Time magazine. "Marshall is in the line of the
great light-bulb-over-the-head editors. He’s like Briton Hadden or Henry
Luce. He’s created something new."
Inspired by political bloggers such
as Mickey Kaus and Andrew Sullivan, Marshall started Talking Points Memo
during the 2000 Florida election recount. "I really liked what seemed to
me to be the freedom of expression of this genre of writing," Marshall
told the Columbia Journalism Review. "And, obviously, given the issues
that I had with the Prospect, that appealed to me a lot."
He left his job at the Prospect early in 2001 and continued to blog
while writing for The Washington Monthly, The Atlantic, The New Yorker,
Salon.com, and the New York Post. In 2002, Marshall used Talking Points
Memo to report on Trent Lott's controversial comments praising Strom
Thurmond's 1948 presidential run as a segregationist. According to the
Kennedy School of Government, Marshall was instrumental in fueling the
ensuing scandal that eventually led to Trent Lott's resignation as
Senate Minority Leader.
a result of the Lott story, traffic to Talking Points Memo spiked from
8,000 to 20,000 page views a day. In the fall of 2003, as people
focused on the failure to find WMD's in Iraq, there was a new surge of
traffic to the site; "I remember there being peak days of 60,000 page
views, which was really incredible." Marshall started selling ads on his
site and by the end of 2004 was earning $10,000 a month, making him one
of a handful of what The New York Times Magazine dubbed "elite bloggers"
who earned enough money to make blogging a full-time occupation.
During the 2008 US election campaign, many independent news sites and
political blogs saw a wave of "explosive growth". Talking Points Memo
experienced the largest surge in traffic, growing from 32,000 unique
visitors in September 2007 to 458,000 unique visitors in September 2008,
a 1,321% year-to-year increase in the size of its audience.