Politico is an American political-journalism company based in Arlington County, Virginia, that covers politics and policy in the United States and internationally. It distributes content through television, the Internet, The Politico newspaper, radio, and podcasts. Its coverage in Washington, D.C., includes the U.S. Congress, lobbying, media and the presidency.
John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei left The Washington Post to become The Politico's editor-in-chief and executive editor, respectively, launching the newspaper on January 23, 2007. Frederick J. Ryan Jr. served as its first president and chief executive officer. Robert L. Allbritton is founder and publisher. In 2015, Politico launched a Brussels-based European edition called Politico Europe.
In April 2017, Politico announced that Patrick Steel would replace Allbritton as CEO effective May 8.
The newspaper has a circulation of approximately 40,000, distributed for free in Washington, D.C., and Manhattan. The newspaper prints up to five issues a week while Congress is in session and sometimes publishes one issue a week when Congress is in recess. It carries advertising, including full-page ads from trade associations and a large help-wanted section listing Washington political jobs.
Politico is a partner with several news outlets that co-report and distribute its video, print and audio content. Partners include CBS News, Allbritton Communications's ABC station WJLA and cable channel NewsChannel 8, radio station WTOP-FM, and Yahoo! News election coverage.
Journalists covering political campaigns for Politico carry a video camera to each assignment, and journalists are encouraged to promote their work elsewhere. Though Politico seeks to break the traditional journalism mold, it expects to make much of its money initially from Washington, D.C.–focused newspaper advertising. Among the journalists who have worked for Politico are Mike Allen, John Bresnahan, Carrie Budoff Brown, Alex Burns, Dylan Byers, Josh Gerstein, Andrew Glass, Susan B. Glasser, Darren Goode, Maggie Haberman, James Hohmann, Anna Palmer, Manu Raju, Daria Knight, Lois Romano, Darren Samuelsohn, Jack Shafer, Jake Sherman, Ben Smith, Eli Stokols, Glenn Thrush, Kenneth Vogel, and Ben White. Roger Simon became The Politico's Chief Political Columnist in December 2006. In 2010, The Politico added two "opinion" columnists, Michael Kinsley and Joe Scarborough.
In a 2007 opinion piece, progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America accused The Politico of having a "Republican tilt." In a letter from editor in chief John F. Harris to executive editor Jim VandeHei, senior political writer Ben Smith and chief political correspondent Mike Allen, Harris reminded his colleagues that they had left the more "traditional news organizations" where they had worked previously, starting The Politico with the intent to be more transparent. To that end, he asked his colleagues for an honest assessment of the claims set forth in the letter from Media Matters. Ben Smith answered: "Media Matters has a point: … that Bush's public endorsement made us seem too close to the White House. That was clearly a favor from the president to us (albeit a small one), and felt to me like one of those clubby Beltway moments that make the insiders feel important and the outsiders feel (accurately) like outsiders." The other primary editors disagreed with the general accusation for a variety of reasons, and some pointed to accusations of a liberal bias from the other side of the political spectrum.
In September 2008, The New York Times reported that Politico would expand its operations following the 2008 presidential election: "[A]fter Election Day, [Politico] will add reporters, editors, Web engineers and other employees; expand circulation of its newspaper edition in Washington; and print more often."
A 2009 profile of the organization in Vanity Fair said The Politico had an editorial staff of 75 and a total staff of 100. Its newspaper circulation is around 32,000, and as of summer 2009, its web traffic was around 6.7 million unique visitors per month. This is fewer than the 11 million it had during the high point of the campaign, but most political news outlets have lower traffic outside election years. As of July 2009, it was expected to have annual revenue of around $15 million, primarily from the printed product, enough for the publication to remain financially solvent.
As of 2017, Politico averaged 26 million unique visitors a month to its American website, and more than 1.5 million unique visitors to its European site.
Investment banker Patrick Steel of FBR & Co. was appointed in 2017 as CEO. Steel would succeed Allbritton, who served in the position after co-founder and CEO VandeHei "abruptly left amid an internal management rift" in early 2016.
In September 2013, Politico acquired the online news site Capital New York, which also operated separate departments covering Florida and New Jersey. In spring 2015, Politico announced its intention to rebrand the state feeds with the Politico name (Politico Florida, Politico New Jersey, and Politico New York), effective summer 2015.
In September 2014, Politico formed a joint venture with German publisher Axel Springer SE to launch its European edition, based in Brussels. In December 2014, the joint venture announced its acquisition of Development Institute International, a leading French events content provider, and European Voice, a European political newspaper, to be re-launched under the Politico brand. Former Wall Street Journal editorial board member Matthew Kaminski is the executive editor of the European edition. Politico Europe debuted in print on April 23, 2015. Among the reporters who work for Politico are Ryan Heath and Matthew Kaminski.
In November 2013, Politico launched Politico Magazine, which is published online and bimonthly in print. In contrast to Politico's focus on "politics and policy scoops" and breaking news, Politico Magazine focuses on "high-impact, magazine-style reporting", such as long-form journalism. The first editor of Politico Magazine was Susan B. Glasser, who came to the publication from Foreign Policy magazine. After Glasser was promoted to become Politico's editor, Garrett Graff was named as editor, followed by Stephen Heuser. In December 2016, Blake Hounshell was named the new editor in chief of the magazine.
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