Christie Blatchford, who has been writing a column for the Globe and Mail for a few years now, has bolted to the National Post.
The announcement in a press release issued by Postmedia, offered the following quote from the woman known in media circles as just Blatch: "I'm glad to be back in the fold. It feels like my natural home. I never stopped reading National Post every day, I think it's the prettiest and best written newspaper in the country. I'm really happy to be back."
Postmedia president and CEO Paul Godfrey called the hire a "game changer" for Postmedia.
"People who love her, and even those few who don't, always read her." Maybe.
When Blatchford left her former home at the Sun to take up with Conrad Black and the Post, the papers were filled with stories about how deflated the Sun newsroom felt by the defection. Christie was family.
No such letdown for Globetrotters. Blatch, judging by her recent offerings on home renos and such, had worn out her welcome, or so it seems. It's true too that she was never really comfortable in the Globe environment.
That's clear from her statement on her move and the fact she tacks a little more right of centre than the small-c conservative sensibilities the Globe is generally known for.
Blatch tried to fit in. She moved to the Annex and got a little trendier in her world view. But then there were the rumblings about her columns being edited (horrors) and not getting the profile in the pages of the Globe she believed she deserved.
I'd hesitate to call the Postmedia's hiring of Blatchford a coup. For Postmedia, the rehiring of Blatchford is as much an economic decision as it is a signal that the chain is prepared to invest in its print properties.
The company's second quarter results showed decreases in revenue of some $12 million over last year, most of that due to a decrease in print advertising revenue of $8.6 million, drop of five per cent.
The Post chain has been in financial trouble for years, kept alive and intact by some creative accounting and loan arrangements made by Gordfrey. Little doubt Blatch's hiring is aimed at getting more people to pick up Postmedia's print properties.
In the bigger picture, though, scooping Blatch won't be the game changer locally that Godfrey's suggesting.
She's been hired not to prop up the National Post's lagging fortunes necessarily, but to bolster Postmedia publications around the country, writing stories for its news service. Toronto readers will be seeing less of her in her columns. She'll be writing a column once a week in the Post.
As big city columnists go, Blatch is as good as it gets. She's been one of the hardest working journalists in the biz for a long time.
But the notion that her move alters the playing field is a stretch. Scribes come and go. That's just the nature of journalism.