Meet the Editor: Jim VandeHei
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
New York City media is getting a shake-up this week, from New York magazine changing its print publication schedule, and POLITICO making a big play for local eyeballs. Today: Jim VandeHei, Co-Founder of POLITICO, now CEO and President for Capital New York, discusses the re-launch of Capital and the POLITICO approach to media.
(Programming Note: tune in Wednesday for an interview with Adam Moss of New York magazine.)
VandeHei said Capital's focus will be on the media, City Hall, Albany, and "that's it. We want to dominate those three areas." He argued that reporting on political "insiders" targets not only political operatives but also a "huge audience of people who want to know what they know." As to criticism that POLITICO focuses more on the minutiae of politics than the substance, VendeHei said that "you've got to do it all - you have to do the deep dive journalism, you've got to do the policy, but you also have to do the politics, you have to do the personality."
VandeHei also responded to charges from Erik Wemple at the Washington Post that Mike Allen's influential "Playbook" has offered favorable coverage of sponsor organizations, saying that "I’m sure he could find any pattern he wants to if he wanted to dissect all the Playbook entries that we’ve had over seven years. Mike Allen is one of the best reporters that I’ve known in Washington, one of the fairest, has the sort of highest ideals of anybody I know. So the product is rock-solid, it’s silly to insinuate that." As for Capital's use of "sponsored content" VandeHei says that there is a larger trend in digital news where advertisers are trying to find new ways to reach their audience. "I don't know if sponsored content will have legs three, four, five years from now, but there's no doubt that there's some durability to the trend in the short term."