This mindset is evident both in the prose of Politico’s writers and in the way the publication has responded to its critics. After Salon’s Greenwald e-mailed Politico reporter Mike Allen with questions about the paper’s relationship with Drudge, for example, Harris replied with a 1200-word e-mail and gave Greenwald permission to post it online. As controversy over the use and origins of “slow bleed” mounted, meanwhile, Harris wrote a column in which he regretfully copped to being the guy responsible. Politico also published a 900-word critique by MMA’s Simon Maloy, titled “Is Politico a GOP Shill?” (It also ran a 2400-word response from Harris, VandeHei, and reporter Ben Smith, which may have been a bit much.)

Over time, this responsiveness and transparency should help Politico establish itself as a distinctive journalistic brand. (It’s hard to imagine, say, the New York Times running an op-ed from a critic accusing it of liberal bias.) It may even convince the publication’s critics that their early concerns were overblown. But despite a deep-pocketed owner (Allbritton is the former CEO and chairman of Riggs National Corp., a Washington banking company best known for its ties to Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator) and several partnerships with established media outlets — most notably, a content-sharing arrangement with USA TodayPolitico will have to establish itself as a must-read among the nation’s political elite if it’s going to thrive and survive.

Early results are mixed. When I asked Steve Grossman, the former Massachusetts Democratic Party and Democratic National Committee Chairman, what he thought of Politico so far, he admitted he didn’t know what it was. One long-time Boston Democratic consultant told me that he reads the site regularly, but might stop unless Politico starts breaking more high-impact stories. “I still go there every day,” he said. “But at some point, I’m just going to fall off.”

Dominick Ianno — a Republican media consultant at the Boston firm Gray Media, which is working for John McCain’s presidential campaign — was more upbeat. (He is, after all, a Republican.) “They’ve certainly put together a top-notch team, and they’ve really established themselves as a must-read,” said Ianno. “But their big challenge is going to be in the post-presidential era. Right now, they’re in the midst of a pretty wide-open presidential race — but after the campaign’s over, can this continue to be a go-to site and newspaper?”

Good question. Check back in 2009.

On the Web
Adam Reilly's Media Log:

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
Related: Distant view, Artists showing support, Get smart, More more >
  Topics: Media -- Dont Quote Me , Washington Post, Rudolph Giuliani, Democratic National Committee,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BULLY FOR BU!  |  March 12, 2010
    After six years at the Phoenix , I recently got my first pre-emptive libel threat. It came, most unexpectedly, from an investigative reporter. And beyond the fact that this struck me as a blatant attempt at intimidation, it demonstrated how tricky journalism's new, collaboration-driven future could be.
  •   STOP THE QUINN-SANITY!  |  March 03, 2010
    The year is still young, but when the time comes to look back at 2010's media lowlights, the embarrassing demise of Sally Quinn's Washington Post column, "The Party," will almost certainly rank near the top of the list.
  •   RIGHT CLICK  |  February 19, 2010
    Back in February 2007, a few months after a political neophyte named Deval Patrick cruised to victory in the Massachusetts governor's race with help from a political blog named Blue Mass Group (BMG) — which whipped up pro-Patrick sentiment while aggressively rebutting the governor-to-be's critics — I sized up a recent conservative entry in the local blogosphere.
  •   RANSOM NOTES  |  February 12, 2010
    While reporting from Afghanistan two years ago, David Rohde became, for the second time in his career, an unwilling participant rather than an observer. On October 29, 1995, Rohde had been arrested by Bosnian Serbs. And then in November 2008, Rohde and two Afghan colleagues were en route to an interview with a Taliban commander when they were kidnapped.
  •   POOR RECEPTION  |  February 08, 2010
    The right loves to rant against the "liberal-media elite," but there's one key media sector where the conservative id reigns supreme: talk radio.

 See all articles by: ADAM REILLY