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The Politico's success examined

The Politico's success examined

Gabriel Sherman of The New Republic has written about Washington must-read The Politico. He firstly notes an event on January 22nd where Politico reporter Jonathan Martin was present at in the White House press corps when Barack Obama went down for a friendly, informal meet-and-greet with the reporters. However Martin wasn't prepared keep the exchange to simple pleasantries, and pressed Obama on political issues until the President grew exasperated and responded "I can't end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I'm going to get grilled every time I come down here." The headline "Obama Flashes Irritation In Press Room" was on the Politico site in under an hour, picked up on by the Huffington Post a few hours later and on Fox News and CNN by the end of the day.

Sherman recalls other similar events where the influence of Politico has been displayed when it ran relatively inconsequential stories (such as Senator McCain forgetting how many houses he owned), which then attracted so much attention that publications such as the New York Times were later prompted to run front pages on them. However this method of fast-reported headline-hitting news isn't always popular amongst other Washington reporters "It's maddening. Everyone has to chase them," one complained. Its success is unprecedented and unusual, particularly its ability to combine online and printed news.

The Politico is known largely for its online content, and although it still gets more revenue from its print editions the website is catching up fast. It's success can be attributed to numerous factors; the decline in the printed press, the public attention to gossipy and more personal stories about politicians, and the election mania that lead up to Obama's victory in November. But the fact that Politico is still on the up, and looking to be in profit within 6 months, is unusual in the current climate.

It operates under speed, and the burnout rate for its journalists is faster than the average. Sherman gives instances of writers stopping on park benches to blog breaking news as it happens; of a journalist staying up all night during the Iowa caucus and then sitting down at 5.30am to start writing about it. In a memo last year, Politico staffers were told, "We are not the AP or The New York Times... If we only do what those two great organizations do, we will not survive and we won't have jobs". Politico aims to "win the morning and win the afternoon", meaning they have the most talked about stories all day everyday - and currently they seem to be succeeding.

Source: The New Republic



Helena Deards


2009-02-18 12:41

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