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Trouble in the Beltway: NY Times vs. Politico

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Trouble in the Beltway: NY Times vs. Politico

The New York Times announced on Wednesday of last week that it will be making some changes in its Washington bureau, and begin working on the start of two new ventures. In a memo to the staff Jill Abramson, the executive editor of The New York Times, said that Carolyn Ryan would become the new Washington bureau chief.

Christine Haughney reports that The New York Times will be introducing an early-morning news tip sheet, which will be a digital product about the day’s happenings in Washington – supervised by Carl Hulse. The tip sheet is expected to look like the New York Today report.

In 2009, when Politico was still a relatively new publication Gabriel Sherman wrote in the New Republic that the motto around the Politico newsroom is, “win the morning, win the afternoon,” – meaning that Politico’s stories must be the most discussed in that day’s news cycle.

After revealing a few months ago to New Republic’s Michael Kinsley that she looks at Politico each day, specifically Mike Allen’s email every morning, Abramson is possibly trying to “win the morning” back from Politico with this new tip sheet in Washington.    

This tip sheet also comes directly after Politico announced plans to expand in New York with its purchase of Capital New York.

Politico’s staff is growing, since mid 2013 it has housed a staff of around 230 – and recently hired Richard L. Berke, a longtime veteran of The New York Times.

Politico has grown from a startup to a dominant player in Washington in its six years. The New York Times' decision to start a news tip sheet comes just a week after the launch of Politico’s Magazine.

Politico began when former writers for the Washington Post John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei launched the site at the start of 2007, with financial backing from Robert Allbritton, as a free website accompanied by a print newspaper (published only in D.C.).

The New York Times noted that the decline of the Washington Post began after Harris and VandeHei left in 2006. Ross Douthat suggests that this is the moment in time when the Washington Post lost the opportunity to be the must-read in the Beltway. 

Therefore, "today it's Politico rather than The Post that dominates the D.C. the conversation, Politico rather than the Post that’s the must-read for Beltway professionals and politics junkies everywhere, and Politico rather than the Post that matches the metabolism of the Internet," he said. 

Politico first became prominent during the 2008 presidential campaign in which it broke many scoopworthy stories. It was already drawing more than four million unique readers a month in its second year. 

Politico has been leading the drive towards shorter, more engaging political news stories on the web - as well as being a prominent figure in the fast political news cycle ever since it began. And it currently has the largest White House contingent of any news organization.

With the launching of Politico's new magazine it appears it will have a strong competitor in town. Hulse told the Huffington Post, “I think our still-developing approach will be to try to put a real NYT stamp on things through a combination of reporting and analysis and insights from the experts and best reporters in the bureau.”

But Politico doesn’t seem too worried since VandeHei said in an email to Huffington Post, “any competition is fantastic for the soul.”


Asta Thrastardottir


2013-11-25 13:35

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