The end of the Mike Allen Playbook era is coming sooner than we expected, with Politico reporters Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman taking the helm July 11. They are joined by Daniel Lippman, Allen’s Playbook co-author, who is a link between the current, original incarnation of Playbook and the next.
The initial plan was for Allen to continue penning the newsletter through the 2016 elections, after which he planned to depart. It was part of a mini exodus of high-level staffers, including co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei, announced at the end of January. “After this election, it’ll be time to get off,” wrote Allen at the time. “After the most exciting nine years of my life, I’ll join Jim VandeHei, our visionary and gutsy boss, in a new venture that will change the world one more time,” adding later in the note, “By waiting till after the election, we have time to make sure that the transition is smooth and that we leave an even better team behind.”
A memo co-founder and editor in chief John Harris sent to staff Sunday night detailed how plans had changed. “Because 2017 is practically upon us already—with the presumptive nominees already settled, and a transition that will start the morning after the election—I made a judgment that we should let this team get to work sooner rather than later. This is an extraordinary election and a great opportunity to introduce the Playbook audience to a new team,” he wrote.
Allen, writing up the Playbook news in Playbook this morning, did not break the fourth wall, describing himself and last night’s coverage in third person, and affirming that he will stay on at Politico through the elections. He will work on elections coverage and Playbook events.
“Their rise into this job is a terrific POLITICO story,” Harris wrote of the pair, “since these two friends and collaborators effectively grew up together, in a professional sense, in our newsroom. They personify values—fierce competitiveness, love of the political game, journalistic integrity—that animate our entire publication.”
“They are a generation younger than POLITICO’s co-founders and their reportorial roots are deep among a rising cohort of people now taking positions of influence throughout the capital,” he continued.
While Palmer and Sherman will bring their younger-demo voices to the venture, if you’re wondering what Allen’s style looks like when someone else is imitating it, check out Jim Rutenberg‘s report last night in the New York Times. It’s written entirely in Playbookese, complete with some all-caps headline action, a sponsor (the NYT, offering a subscription discount), and titled items that include “Data Du Jour,” “Flashback,” “The Money, Honey,” and even a “Birthweek” listing: Allen’s own.