What’s really gratifying is that it turns out that there’s millions of people who want to have a look in. They want to be able to see behind the curtain and see how Washington really works and how politics is really practiced. We think those numbers can grow and will grow because a lot of people care a lot about what’s happening in Washington.

Does the presence of that audience change who you compete with?

Not at all. Our focus has not changed from day one to this conversation I am having with you right now. That is we had to be essential to political professionals, to government officials…

Day-to-day we spend a lot of time thinking, “What is Bloomberg doing? What is CQ Roll Call doing? What is David Bradley up to over at National Journal? What are they doing at The Washington Post?” Those are our competitors and we’re always trying to figure out what they’re up to, where we have a market advantage, where can we grow as a company. We don’t spend a lot of time ever thinking what’s on the world news and how does that effect us or what’s happening on the front page of USA Today and how that affects Politico. Those are mass audience outlets. We’re not a mass audience—it turns out there’s a big audience that wants in on the type of stuff that we’re covering, but we’re still very much about Washington.

Speaking of competitors, have you been keeping an eye on Bloomberg’s push into Washington, Bloomberg Government?

I think everybody in Washington is keeping an eye on what Bloomberg’s doing in Washington. They’re spending a lot of money, they’re hiring a lot of people, they’re getting more deeply involved in policy areas, particularly on the data end of things. I don’t see them as a direct competitor to what we’re about to launch; I see them as complimentary in some ways. Bloomberg is really going to be a dominant player in the data business, interpreting government actions and how it affects Wall Street and how it affects investors. I see us very much as being in the human intelligence business, helping people understand the decisions, what’s going to happen next, and how it all fits together. I think Bloomberg is a much bigger threat to National Journal and CQ because they’re going after the data business, and, from what I’ve seen they’re doing it in a much more comprehensive way.


Ends today: If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of
10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.

Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.