MEDIA

Politico Preparing To Launch European Site In April

03/17/2015 01:00 am ET
Politico.com

NEW YORK -- Politico announced a flurry of hires Tuesday and plans to launch its European edition on April 21, according to a staff memo obtained by The Huffington Post.

The European edition, a joint venture with German media giant Axel Springer, will feature a frequently updated site, as well as subscription-based "Pro" verticals dedicated to energy, health care and technology. That revenue model is similar to Politico and Politico-owned Capital New York, each of which boast a free site alongside premium products for specific coverage areas, such as tax policy, defense and media.

And similar to Politico, which publishes a Beltway-oriented weekday print edition, the European edition will include a print component. The weekly paper be available in major European cities, including Brussels, Paris, Berlin and London, starting on April 23.

"We're going to bring the unique approach that changed the way politics was covered in Washington to Brussels and beyond," reads the memo from Politico Europe executive editor Matt Kaminski, Politico editor-in-chief and co-founder John Harris and Shéhérazade Semsar-de Boisséson, managing director of European Voice, which was acquired by the joint venture in December.

"To achieve that goal, we are assembling a roster of some of the most talented reporters and editors on the continent -- a mix of respected veterans and ascendant younger journalists -- who are ready to help shake up a European media scene, which, in our judgment, is in need of something different," they continued.

By next month, they wrote, Politico "will have more reporters in the two main political and regulatory centers of the world -- Washington and Brussels -- than any other publication."

For the European launch, editors have tapped senior EU correspondent Ryan Heath to write a morning column on "what's driving the daily political conversation on this side of the Atlantic," a product similar to Mike Allen's Playbook.

The company announced a slew of hires already based in Europe, including Reuters' Pierre Briançon and Nicholas Vinocur, Italian investigative magazine editor Jacopo Barigazzi, and American journalist Zeke Turner.

In addition, New York Post city hall reporter Tara Palmeri will be heading to Brussels, and both former New Republic managing editor Linda Kinstler and Newsweek veteran Tunku Varadarajan have joined as contributing editors.

Politico is soon expected to announce a major U.S. state expansion as well, according to a high-ranking company source.

Here's the full staff memo listing European hires:

From: Matt Kaminski, John Harris, Sheherazade Semsar
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Subject: Exciting News…

Team,

The new publication we are building is moving swiftly from idea to reality, and the three of us would like to share several big developments on both the editorial and business fronts.

Most importantly, we have set a date for our launch. At 12:01 am Brussels time April 21, www.politico.eu goes live. POLITICO will be a global publication. We’re going to bring the unique approach that changed the way politics was covered in Washington to Brussels and beyond. To achieve that goal, we are assembling a roster of some of the most talented reporters and editors on the continent -- a mix of respected veterans and ascendant younger journalists -- who are ready to help shake up a European media scene, which, in our judgment, is in need of something different. Please do read below for news of our new colleagues, including some names that will turn heads in Brussels and other capitals.

First, however, we would like to share a bit of context about this singular moment. As of next month, POLITICO will have more reporters in the two main political and regulatory centers of the world -- Washington and Brussels -- than any other publication. Combined with our expansion into state capitals in the United States, we are building on the power of a brand that offers a very clear promise to our audience: We deliver journalism about politics and policymaking that is more authoritative in its sophistication and nonpartisan perspective than any competitor; that is more useful to people with a professional interest in public affairs; and that is more fun to read for a community of people who love the drama and sheer sport of politics.

Here in Europe, where POLITICO is being built as a joint venture with the respected German publishing house of Axel Springer, we aim to compete in three arenas:

  • From our main newsroom here in Brussels, we will cover the machinations and maneuvers, the personalities, and the political culture of this capital with more immediacy and style than anyone has done it before. To hell with those who say the work of Brussels is important but boring. We know that work is important and, behind the scenes, infused with fascinating people and gripping political plotlines.
  • For people in Europe, the United States, and around the world with professional Interests at stake in the regulatory and policy debates of Europe, we will dominate this space with premium subscription content under the Pro subscription model. This will build on the success of Pro content teams in Washington and New York. Here in Europe, our first Pro verticals will be on energy, health care, and technology.
  • With reporting assets not just in Brussels but in key capitals across the continent, we aim to illuminate the big European stories. As we see in the headlines every day, the security and economic challenges of Europe have become more urgent -- with consequences that echo around the globe -- than at any time in the past generation. The way to cover these European stories is not from Brussels alone, or from the perspective of any one nation, but between understanding the leaders and the interplay of interests between different capitals.

By winning the competition in these three arenas, we aim to be the dominant politics and policy publication in Europe, just as POLITICO has become in the United States over the past eight years. We won’t arrive at this goal on Day One. But we are already galloping toward it, as will be evident from today’s news:

On launch day, our signature morning column about what’s driving the daily political conversation on this side of the Atlantic will blast into email inboxes. Building on the success of Mike Allen’s Playbook in Washington, the European column will offer sharp reporting, analysis, and a daily rundown of the most important (or amusing) developments here.

We’re delighted to say we’ve found the ideal person for this role: Ryan Heath, senior EU correspondent and associate editor at POLITICO. Ryan will write the morning column, contribute articles, and host some of our events. He needs no introduction around Brussels. For those outside the bubble, Ryan worked at the European Commission between 2008-14. He advised President José Manuel Barroso and made Commissioner and Vice President Neelie Kroes the most talked about woman in town while working as her spokesman. Ryan worked in politics in his native Australia and the U.K., but caught the journalism bug early on, filing columns for the Sydney Morning Herald in his teens. Ryan published what we gather is (or should be) a cult classic Down Under in 2006 entitled “Please Just F* Off: It’s Our Turn Now,” a call to generational arms. He’ll join us in coming weeks.

POLITICO will make its print debut in Brussels, Paris, Berlin, London and other European power centers on Thursday, April 23. We will publish weekly.

Our journalism will be delivered on paper, on phone screens, via the web and on social media, through video and podcasts -- and of course with news-making public events -- the first of which will be our launch event on the evening of April 23.

European Council President Donald Tusk has agreed to headline the event. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will talk about the showdown with Russia over Ukraine. European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip will discuss Europe’s new digital agenda. We’ll announce our full lineup, including several heads of government, in the coming weeks.

While we intend to own the Brussels story, we’ll cover European affairs from key capitals. Let’s start outside the Brussels ring road.

We’ve got an outstanding team in place in Paris. Pierre Briançon, the London-based Europe editor of Reuters Breakingviews, will lead our coverage of France. He’ll also contribute stories on the euro crisis and wider European political developments. We don’t know anyone else who has had such an exceptional and varied career in two different languages. Pierre worked at Libération when Libération shook up the French media scene. Over 18 years, he was business and economics editor, ran the offices in Moscow and Washington and finished his tenure as editor-in-chief. A dozen years ago he jumped over the linguistic and cultural divide to head up the Dow Jones Newswires bureau in Paris. He joined Breakingviews, a financial commentary startup subsequently acquired by Reuters, in 2006. In between he’s authored books about jazz, a fallen French tycoon and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Pierre is moving to Paris.

Joining Pierre there will be Nicholas Vinocur. Swedish and American by birth, Nick grew up in Paris and studied Arabic at Yale. He is a published illustrator. For the last seven years, Nick has reported for Reuters from London, Stockholm and currently Paris. As part of their general news team, he has written about French politics and economics, organized labor and terrorism. We can’t think of any journalist who has done better work on the French right (see this and thatstory). At POLITICO, Nick will focus on infiltrating the Élysée, Matignon and the fringes of European politics.

Providing an Italian perspective will be Jacopo Barigazzi. He’s moving from Milan to Brussels but will follow his home country’s and European news. Jacopo is a first-class reporter and a journalistic innovator. He was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of the award-winning and independent investigative magazineLinkiesta. At ease in his native Italian as well as English, he has reported for Newsweek, Abu Dhabi’s The National and Reuters. He holds an MA in journalism from London City University.

Also joining us in Brussels is Tara Palmeri, City Hall reporter for the New York Post. Tara started her career out of college writing the feared and popular Yeas and Nays column for the Washington Examiner. She got scooped up by the Post in 2010 to report for the legendary Page Six. For the past two years she has covered general news, fashion and entertainment (and gained global fame for standing up to Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn -- you can Google that yourselves) as well as New York politics. She’ll be bringing her flair, toughness, and nose for breaking stories to this town.

Zeke Turner will move to Brussels from Berlin later this spring. After editing the student daily at Dartmouth, Zeke worked at the New York Observer and WWD. For the past few years, he has travelled the world for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, WSJ., the New Republic and The New York Times, among others. He’s written stylish features about the the art world, offered offbeat takes takes on the euro crisis and chronicled the Brooklyn-to-Berlin exodus (which incidentally applies to him too). He’ll cover the intersection of economics and politics in Europe.

We’ve found great homegrown talent at European Voice to strengthen the reporting team in Brussels.

Our own James Panichi -- a veteran Australian journalist who joined European Voice last year -- will be POLITICO’s inaugural EU lobbying and governance reporter. He’ll write a weekly newsletter and contribute stories long and short. He’ll also headline some of our podcast and video offerings.

Kalina Oroschakoff, currently at GPlus Europe, will cover many things energy for POLITICO. Born in Germany, Kalina has worked at Reuters in Berlin and travelled widely in Eastern Europe (and speaks Russian). She oversaw the energy portfolio at her consulting firm.

Aleksandra Terzieva, a Bulgarian national who was educated in America and the U.K., will write our daily newsletter on healthcare and contribute stories. She previously worked for FTI Consulting in Brussels.

In the editing ranks, we’ve made some significant appointments.

Jan Cienski, the Poland correspondent for the Economist, becomes energy editor. His team will report on energy, security and European politics further east. Jan ran the Financial Times’s bureau in Warsaw in 2003-14. He previously worked for the AP in the U.S. and was Washington bureau chief for Canada’s National Post. He holds South African, Canadian and Polish citizenship.

We’re glad to report that our former colleague Craig Winneker (at the WSJ in Matt’s case and EV in some of ours) becomes our colleague again next month. Craig is an American fixture in Brussels. A former managing editor of Roll Call in Washington, he came over in 2000 to work as deputy editor of European Voice. He was later editor of the Wall Street Journal’s European Weekend edition. He’s worked more recently in public affairs. We’re delighted to have lured him back to his first love, journalism. As news editor, Craig will oversee a team of political reporters and contribute stories as well.

We’ll be looking to drum up great features from staff as well as outside contributors. Leading that effort in the early months will be Linda Kinstler and Tunku Varadarajan, who join as contributing editors.

Tunku is the former editor of Newsweek and previously a media critic, opinion writer, and editorial features editor at the Wall Street Journal. In his first career, he taught law at Oxford, before surprising his friends (if not himself) by taking a job with the Times of London. His passions vary from the politics of cricket to Miley Cyrus to how to run a legendary weekly magazine. He’s also a fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, where he edits its Defining Ideas publication.

Linda joined us in Brussels last week to work on the launch, commission and edit opinion and magazine articles, and report her own stories. A citizen of Latvia, she was most recently the managing editor of The New Republic, where she wrote widely about the Ukraine crisis.

We also have a dynamic and fully-staffed production team in place to make POLITICO look great in every medium. Jeanette Minns, who keeps the trains moving at the European Voice, will head up a six-person team as production editor. Paul Dallison will be assistant editor. Cynthia Kroet, a Dutch-born reporter at the European Voice, will oversee our multimedia offerings as video editor. Ivo Oliveira, a Portuguese national who worked for the media startup Fair Observer while finishing his PhD in German philosophy in Munich (on Kant and Husserl -- feel free to ask him for an abstract), came on board last week as a web producer. Jules Johnston, via Scotland and Brussels, who was raised in Leuven and trained as a journalist in London, will be joining as web producers in coming weeks.

Please join us in congratulating everyone and wishing them the best of luck in their new roles.

Matt, John, Sheherazade​

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