New ‘Politico’ Paper, Web Site Launched

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Even for a city obsessed with politics, no one would claim that the nation’s capital suffers from a lack of political reporting.

But political junkies and Beltway insiders looking for news have yet another option with the launch this week of a free tabloid and companion Web site.

The Politico aims to distinguish itself not only by hiring top political journalists from The Washington Post and elsewhere but also by integrating a variety of media.

The front-page of the newspaper provides multiple plugs for the Web site, where readers can find blogs, video and breaking news. Politico reporters and editors also will appear on local and national television and radio.

Of course, nearly every media outlet is expanding onto the Web and other media. The Post has been among the most aggressive, with a lively Web site and a radio station, Washington Post Radio.

But The Politico’s executive editor, Jim VandeHei, believes the outfit’s multimedia efforts will distinguish it from the competition, which includes the Post, newspapers that report exclusively on Congress and politics and respected periodicals like Congressional Quarterly.

“The Washington Post at the end of the day is still a newspaper that also happens to be a Web site,” he said. “We’re going to be focused on the Web.”

Nonetheless, media industry analyst John Morton questioned how The Politico will do anything substantively different, especially given the Post’s extensive online efforts.

“I was a little puzzled that these guys are touting all the things they’ll be doing on the Internet, as though The Washington Post was not itself doing all those things,” Morton said.

Along with VandeHei, Allbritton Communications hired John Harris from the Post to serve as editor in chief. Others have been lured from Time, U.S. News and World Report and the New York Daily News, among others.

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