January 29, 2016

"Politico implodes" — what happened?!

WaPo's Erik Wemple tries to figure it out:
The reported departures follow whispers among Washington media circles that [CEO Jim] VandeHei was clashing with Politico ownership... From his early days at Politico, VandeHei has driven Politico’s workaholic competitive edge... Whether Politico was “better” than the Washington Post or the New York Times, one thing is clear: It forced those newspapers, and many other outlets, to expedite their work to keep pace with Politico.....

VandeHei stumbled, however, when it came to replacing himself. After ascending to the CEO position, he and Harris hired Rick Berke, a former New York Times editor, to serve as executive editor..... Succeeding Berke was Susan Glasser.... A former colleague and friend of VandeHei’s, Glasser secured the sort of authority and control that Berke had craved... She promised to carry forward Politico’s fast-twitch heritage while at the same time producing in-depth journalism.... What she got was a period of turmoil. Valuable staffers headed to other pastures....
So... too much hard work?

29 comments:

Quaestor said...

Rosebud...

wendybar said...

Politico is The New York Times and The Washington Post in a website... They are soooo left, that I used to go there to laugh at how stupid they sounded. I was waiting for them to implode...especially Mike Allen who was so far up Obamas butt...

Jack Wayne said...

If by too much hard work you mean too much New York Times.

TreeJoe said...

Sounds like a failure of leadership going back for years.

JAORE said...

Sounds like a tremendous business plan to me.
1. Recreate already available content.
2. ???????
3. Profit!

Thank you Underpants Gnomes.

mccullough said...

Too much hard work for too little pay. The editors make good money but the reporters don't.

Ann Althouse said...

I never understood how Politico was able to suddenly appear and become so important. It seemed blog-like at first. How did it win its stature? Maybe it was destined to deflate. I couldn't figure it out from read Wemple.

Bob Ellison said...

Wikipedia says "The newspaper has a circulation of approximately 40,000,[7] distributed for free in Washington, D.C., and Manhattan."

"Distributed for free" means "no subscribers". Which suggests that big dollars were/are behind Politico, which suggests that Politico never had a real business model, but only an ideology.

holdfast said...

@Ann - I think that they had some "well respected" reporters from the MSM (WaPo primarily) who brought "important" (politicians') eyeballs with them.

SteveR said...

Had Hillary been a decent candidate roaring to inevitability and to carry on the good progressive vision of Valerie Jarrett this would all be good times. But its not fun. You have to pay people to do that.

gerry said...

A lefty pseudo-news-reporting service in Washington and New York? How many sympathetic commentary outlets do those markets need? I think @Bob Ellison is spot on with Which suggests that big dollars were/are behind Politico, but with the emphasis on were. I wonder if Hillary's upcoming Iowa/New Hampshire debacles motivated sacking the Politico venture, since returns seem now to be vaporizing?

Geoff Matthews said...

I'm sure the reason why Glasser had problems with the staff is that the staff are sexists. They didn't quite when a man was in charge.

Humperdink said...

I read every new political website that comes along. I bookmark the good ones. It didn't take me very long to abandon Politico.

BTW I am a viewer of Morning RINO on MSNBC. I am mystified that Politico's Mike Allen is permitted to slobber (literally) on a regular basis on this show. Someone needs to hand this guy a bib. That was the "face" of Politico on TV.

Bob Ellison said...

Let's do the math. Suppose you have 40k subscribers to your paper, and advertisers to support it. (I know; Politico is multi-faceted; let's just go with it for now.) They publish 5X/week. A NYT subscription costs about $5/week.

We're in the neighborhood, hoping very highly, of grossing about $200k/week in viewing eyes. That's before printing, taxes, salaries, and everything else associated with running a business. That's about $10m/year.

Let's add in, I dunno, maybe $10k/week in ad buys from ad people who are too stupid to know up from down.

So now we're at weekly revenue of maybe $210k/week.

But Politico has no subscribers. So subtract that $200k.

Now we're at $10k. Per week. Maybe they get another $300/week in online ad revenue, whatever. Now we're around half a million per year.

What are the printing and other costs? Let's suppose they're small. Printing is a difficult business. They are tough folks. Maybe only $250k/year.

If you do everything right, you've got about a quarter million dollars left to do business.

Does that cover the salary of the lefty who runs the show and all of the people who work for him or her?

I'm trying to make generous assumptions here. The reality is probably much worse.

The reality is that other money is going on here.

Big Mike said...

So... To much hard work?

Take it from me, no such thing when you're having fun doing what you do. Maybe shilling for Hillary took the fun out of it?

Quaestor said...

The reality is that other money is going on here.

Soros and Buffett via some offshore bank plus the House of Saud via a weekly visit y a consulate bagman.

ScottD said...

This is from 2008:

Several sources at the Washington Post are reporting that Susan Glasser, the top editor for national news at the paper, will be leaving her post. Glasser took over as assistant managing editor for national in late 2006 and started ginning up controversy from the very start. Underlings chafed at her sharp-elbowed, hard-driving ways, and top managers at washingtonpost.com also had difficulty collaborating with her.

This past winter, Tom Wilkinson, a senior editor at the paper, conducted a months-long inquiry into Glasser's reign at national and found layers of dissatisfaction with her approach to motivating her people and deciding what to feature on the front page of the newspaper.


Obviously, Politico imploded because of sexism.

ScottD said...

This is from 2014:

Politico’s new editor, Susan Glasser, brings a management style that results in a steady stream of editors and writers headed for the door, a report says. ...

Staffers feel that she has gone out of her way to marginalize writers and editors, in an effort to get many to quit so that she can fill their jobs with her handpicked applicants. ....

Since Glasser became the organization’s top boss, over 40 editors, writers, and staffers have quit.

tim in vermont said...

I always figured that they had big-pockets support that was willing to pay for them to suck up to the powers in the government so that those big-pockets guys could make more money out of returned favors from the Democrats than they spent on the web site. That is the only economic model that seems to make sense for so many of these outlets, like MSNBC, for example.

AJ Lynch said...

"fast-twitch heritage" They have such high opinions of themselves. Bet it is a money loser.

traditionalguy said...

ET want go home. The Obama Operation is coming to its close and they have all been RIF'd. The money supplier has no use for them now.

buwaya puti said...

Tim and Bob are right.
This is a subsidized political operation that justifies itself as a political asset, just like MSNBC, the New Republic or the National Review. And, I suspect, the New York Times.
The cost of the subsidy is justified through the trading of favors, most probably, ultimately, regulatory forbearance.

DrMaturin said...

Politico is a sweatshop. It makes nearly impossible demands on its staff. A few years back they fired a reporter for plagiarizing. She did this because it was the only way she could meet her deadlines. It was wrong but she felt she had no alternative (I know this because she's a friend of my son). It's not surprising it's melting down, this was inevitable

Bob Ellison said...

Publishers always inflate their reader numbers.

If you're still reading this thread, please read that. I've got newspapers delivered to my driveway every day, a newspaper I never ordered and have never paid for, and have called about several times to stop delivery on.

Journalists...hmm...let's just say that the people in that industry are not the people you would want taking care of your dogs when you're away on vacation.

They lie for a living.

Matthew Sablan said...

I read lots of news; I've never been too impressed with Politico.

YoungHegelian said...

An example from June 2015, just after Politico occupied new office space: “[Owner] Robert Allbritton has invested a lot of money, time and attention into the creation of this sleek and collaborative incubator for our ideas...."

I'm amazed I missed this on the first reading. Somehow, upper management always thinks that getting "just the right building & build-out" for the staff will set the river on fire. It never, ever does.

Whenever you read that a company has "just combined its main & satellite offices into a new especially-designed [building or campus]", short the stock. The company's in for a downturn.

dwick said...

hmmm... I seem to recall problems with the first female NYT executive editor, Jill Abramson.
Coincidence?

Michael K said...

"The Obama Operation is coming to its close and they have all been RIF'd. The money supplier has no use for them now."

Bingo.

Someday we may learn who was behind Obama.

wendybar said...

Humperdink said...That was the "face" of Politico on TV.


Exactly!! He used to make me cringe.