Dave Beard

Over the past few years, we’ve grown accustomed to watching talented people leave the Boston Globe. But this one hurts more than most: David Beard, the editor of Boston.com, has accepted a top editing job with the Washington-based National Journal Group.

According to this announcement, posted at Romenesko, Beard will be deputy editor-in-chief and online editor of the group, which is adding a number of free online services to its subscription site in order to compete with Politico. Though there’s no mention of it in the announcement, the Journal is a sister publication of the Atlantic, which owner David Bradley yanked out of Boston, its ancestral home, in 2005.

Beard has done a great job of positioning Boston.com as something different from the Globe. Perhaps even more important, he has been a huge presence for the Globe outside 135 Morrissey Blvd., evangelizing not just on behalf of the Globe, but for new forms of journalism in general. Plus, he’s a great guy.

The Globe’s ability to replace key people and reinvent itself is impressive, but Dave is going to be a hard act to follow. Subscribe to his Twitter feed here.

What follows is a memo that Globe editor Marty Baron and deputy managing editor for multimedia Bennie DiNardo sent to the staff a little while ago, a copy of which was obtained by Media Nation:

To all:

David Beard has been many things for us since arriving at the Globe in 1998 — online evangelist, deputy foreign editor, tweeter-in-chief, Facebook promoter, soccer fan, zones chief, recruiter, community liaison, reader advocate, teacher, valued adviser, friend. Sadly for us, he is about to add another title to his portfolio — former colleague.

David is taking his unlimited energy and his enthusiasm for news to Washington, where he will become deputy editor-in-chief and online editor for the National Journal Group, which includes National Journal, CongressDaily, The Hotline, NationalJournal.com, and The Almanac of American Politics.

In a building full of amazing Rolodexes, no one has a more extensive list of contacts than Dave. He’s a human version of LinkedIn. Whether you are writing about Belmont or Bogota, David inevitably knows someone and connects you. Before coming to Boston to be our deputy foreign editor, Dave reported from South America, the Caribbean, the US South, and the Cleveland area for the Plain Dealer, Associated Press, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He also served as Caribbean editor for the AP for three years, overseeing coverage of the US intervention to restore an elected president in Haiti. After his three-year stint on the Globe’s foreign desk, he immersed himself in local coverage, overseeing the regional editions.

Four years ago, he again staked out new territory, becoming editor of Boston.com. Since then, the website has grown from 150 million page views a month to almost 200 million, and our mobile traffic has gone from nonexistent to almost 13 million page views. In his recent digital years, he supervised online coverage of Barack Obama’s presidential election victory and the death of Senator Kennedy, cultivated a growing network of community bloggers, and helped launch “Secret Spaces,” an online project that turned into a book.

With Dave leaving us in two weeks, a search for the next editor of Boston.com begins immediately, but first things first: Please offer your thanks to Dave for the invaluable creativity and collegiality he brought to this organization for the past 12 years, and wish him well as he pursues a promising opportunity in Washington.

Marty and Bennie