Politico Owner Expands Attentions to New York News

Robert Allbritton, owner of the Politico website and newspaper, has decided to take on the Big Apple right just a few months after announcing that he intends to sell the local television stations which he owns.

While there's no guarantee he will succeed in his new venture--Allbritton previously had launched a DC local news website called TBD.com which fizzled out quickly--his interest and entrepreneurship is commendable and something that people on the right with loads of money should pay attention to.

Allbritton's former employee Erik Wemple (now at the Washington Post) has more details on the new venture:

Back in early May, Politico publisher Robert Allbritton sent out a memo declaring his intent to sell his company’s various local TV properties, a move that would enable him to focus on more future-oriented media projects. He cited a “hope to find and nurture future media enterprises infused with a similar journalistic and business spirit.” Similar, that is, to Politico.

Tom McGeveran and Josh Benson, the founders of news site Capital New York, found the memo encouraging enough to send an e-mail to Rosslyn: Should we talk about a deal? The note hardly came out of the blue; McGeveran and Benson had made a presentation to Allbritton back in 2009 for a New York news site when they worked at the legendary New York Observer. Though those talks didn’t advance, McGeveran and Benson left the Observer and launched Capital New York in 2010. That same year, Allbritton launched Washington-area news site TBD.com, a generously funded project that fizzled in near-record time under the editorial guidance of the Erik Wemple Blog.

The big shot behind the Capital New York deal has “big ambitions for this publication: to do in New York what we did in Washington with POLITICO. We are making a substantial investment to sharpen the focus of Capital and vastly expand its reportorial presence. The publication will focus laser-like on New York and its power centers, including the media, city and state politics, culture and business. It will target a sophisticated insider audience of New York’s most powerful,” wrote Allbritton in a note to Politico staff.

And what better way to replicate Politico than to plant Politico’s beating heart in the new property? Allbritton announced that Jim VandeHei, the restless executive editor of Politico, will serve as president of Politico North. VandeHei and Politico Editor in Chief John F. Harris, says the memo, “have a very smart plan for aligning Capital’s expansion with our own efforts here to take advantage of our considerable business expertise.”

Read the rest for more details.

Matthew Sheffield's picture