Journalists that are very much like the ones we hire now for Politico. We’re looking for people who have expertise, who have a passion for journalism, who have a passion for the issues that they’re covering. But also who have a unique skill set—they’re fast, they’re smart, they’re well-sourced. And that’s the most important part: Can we tell people stuff they just don’t know? That’s always the test of good journalism to me. John Bresnahan, who’s one of our congressional reporters and a longtime friend of mine, says, “Just tell me something I don’t know.” If you do that, you’re a good journalist.
We spent a lot of time trying to find people who are heads and shoulders above others in those individual sectors. Darren Samuelsohn, whom we hired away from Environment & Energy Daily to be our lead writer on energy, is widely seen in the energy world as sort of the Mike Allen of energy coverage. He has an insatiable desire to break news, to tell people stuff they don’t know, to write big pieces about what’s happening in this world, but also do quick hits, like ‘Hey, here’s something you didn’t know about the chairman’s race,’ or ‘Here’s something you didn’t know about the global warming debate.’ And that’s the model: finding people who really have the political metabolism and who have real expertise that they can bring to bear on these issues.
You started hiring early.
We started hiring people about three months ago, give or take, and it’s certainly picked up in the last month and will intensify even more between now and the end of the year. We’re looking for reporters who have expertise. But at the same time we’re looking for reporters who have the right metabolism, the right mindset, who have the right moves. I’m a big believer that if someone’s a great journalist and has all the right intangibles, you can put them in anywhere and they will be a success. There’s definitely going to be a couple of generalists we will bring in who we think can learn the material quickly enough and can write in a sophisticated understandable way.
The press release talks about “high-impact” and “high-velocity” reporting. Can you explain what you mean by that?
Hopefully, it’s what’s come to define Politico. It’s having reporters moving quick, moving with the news, and telling people something first. That’s very important. If you can be the first to tell someone what’s going to happen on a piece of legislation, or a spat that’s happening between Pelosi and Hoyer, or some dynamic that’s animating a given policy or political debate, that’s a good thing. Let’s face it, we live in an era of rapidity where things move with a real velocity, and I think technology affords us the ability to keep up with the pace of politics and to keep up with the demands of political and policy professionals. We’re looking to always be part of that.
Will Politico Pro be available on tablets and smart phones?
Yes. Our hope is that we will have iPad apps for all of these individual verticals in the spring.
You’ve said you want Politico to be the dominant outlet covering Washington. Do you think you’re there?
I think it’s certainly our long-term goal. Stepping back for a minute, I think there’s a great story taking place in Washington where you have a lot of big institutions with real household names—Don Graham at The Washington Post, Rupert Murdoch with The Wall Street Journal, Robert Allbritton with Politico, Bloomberg—all vying to be the dominant voice in Washington. I don’t know that there will be one dominant voice, but I don’t know that there will be many, many dominant voices. Our goal is to position Politico to be that dominant voice in covering Washington governance.