Best Editor

Best: John Harris, Politico
2nd Best: Jim VandeHei, Politico
Since its debut in January 2007, Politico has churned out two things: first, scoops on national politics, including a blockbuster on presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani and many other morsels throughout last fall’s campaign. And second—publicity for itself. Other outlets have been fascinated by the story of Politico, a niche Web site and newspaper attempting to beat back ongoing trends that have made newsgathering look a lot like a Rust Belt industry. Every time you fire up Jim Romenesko’s media aggregator on, it seems, you find another account of how the people at Politico are forging ahead, thriving at a time when other newspapers are folding. A great example came last September, when outlets across the industry were worried about an anticipated drop in Web traffic and revenues following Obama v. McCain. What did Politico do? It announced it would be expanding—a story big enough to make it into the New York Times. Here’s the money quote from VandeHei: “I anticipate some dip in our audience, but for our business model, it doesn’t really matter. We anticipate a nice surge on the revenue side.” Nicely played. When asked whether all the coverage owes to Politico’s biz model or to its editors’ knack for scaring up publicity, VandeHei responded, “[M]ost of us left traditional journalism to go niche—and our colleagues in the business were curious if it would work. The good news: it clearly did. We are among the few media companies still hiring, which in and of itself is newsworthy in this economy.”