NEW YORK -- On Nov. 21 New York magazine hit newsstands with dueling pieces, one titled "How the GOP Went Mad," by former Bush speechwriter David Frum, and the other titled "The Self-Loathing of Liberals," by contributing editor Jonathan Chait. The cover also teased a Frank Rich essay on JFK, a profile of Arianna Huffington, and a column on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's handling of Occupy Wall Street and the Zuccotti Park raid.
It was a politics-packed print edition, joined by an online scoop that afternoon detailing how Fox News chief Roger Ailes scolded Sarah Palin for announcing she wouldn't run for president on Mark Levin's radio show instead of the cable network that pays her salary. Those stories helped bring in 800,000 unique visitors on Nov. 21, the magazine's highest web traffic day of 2011.
So it makes sense that editor-in-chief Adam Moss would want to better showcase the magazine's increasing national political coverage online during the 2012 campaign season. On Monday, New York will launch a new politics channel, "Early & Often," that bundles together each issue's political content, along with daily posts, a feature called "number of the day," videos, and pieces culled from the magazine's archives by writers like Slate's Jacob Weisberg, Time's Joe Klein, and Ms. magazine co-founder and feminist icon Gloria Steinem.
"The national political scene has seeped through our own New York sensibility," Moss said in an interview with The Huffington Post. "By New York, I don't mean the city, really. I mean a certain way of looking at the world."
"We think we have something to contribute to the political dialogue," Moss added, describing New York's writing as "serious, but also playful and very contentious."
While New York, like other city-specific magazines, runs its share of service-y covers -- "Where to Eat," "Best Doctors," and "Best of New York" -- the magazine also devotes several issues each year to national politics.
In July, writer-at-large Frank Rich kicked off his post-New York Times career with a harsh critique of how the Obama administration hasn't held Wall Street accountable for the financial crisis. Recently, New York's published cover stories have focused on Occupy Wall Street's potential impact on 2012, by "Game Change" co-author John Heilemann, and Mitt Romney's tenure atop Bain Capital, by Benjamin Wallace-Wells.
Moss says that New York has currently "amassed what we think is an unusually strong line-up of political writers of various types who write both for us digitally and write for us in print." In addition to the aforementioned writers, Moss rattled off several others who’ll contribute regularly to "Early & Often," including Dan Amira, Noreen Malone, Jason Zengerle, Gabriel Sherman and Jennifer Senior.
These days, roughly two thirds of New York's online readership is located outside the city -- more than is the case for most other regional magazines. "Our whole digital ambition is national," Moss said. "And in fact, the magazine itself has more and more national content, as seen through what we think is a New York lens. But what it's looking at is the national scene."
In September, Moss spoke to Adweek about focusing more on national politics, and hinted there would be more features unveiled over "the next several months." In addition to Monday's launch, New York plans to publish a special election issue in October 2012. The magazine will also partner with Economist Group's Ideas People Media an advertising sales network that could lead to millions of more eyeballs both nationally and internationally.
Moss hopes that political junkies nationwide will bookmark the new politics channel, heading there to find reporting and analysis of the candidates' statements as well as the media outrage of the day.
"If Rick Perry or Newt Gingrich or Joe Biden says something someplace and you want a certain kind of commentary that you identify as our way of looking at things, you'll begin to depend on us for that," Moss said. "And this is where you'll find it."
Still, Moss doesn't expect "Early & Often" to be a one-stop shop for politics obsessives, who are more likely to look for New York's unique take and original reporting while also clicking through Politico, Talking Points Memo, Andrew Sullivan, or The Huffington Post's own Politics vertical. He sees New York's channel as more complementary than competitive with any specific site.
"We're not completely unique," Moss said. "I wouldn't make that claim for us. But we're unique-ish."