The Hill Staffs Up, Introduces New Paid Subscription Service

Johanna Derlega joins as publisher, Adam Prather is upped to CRO, and a whole lot more.

The Hill is describing the many new hires it announced yesterday as just its “first wave” of additions, some of which have just come on board, others who have had a few months to get acclimated.

In a statement, editor in chief Bob Cusack promised that more would be coming, saying “We are aggressively accelerating the expansion of our editorial team both to constantly improve and broaden our coverage in order to provide even more value to our readers.”

In addition to the hires, the publication announced the launch of The Hill Extra, its first paid subscription service.

Read on for all the details.

Johanna Derlega joins as publisher. She takes over for Adam Prather, who has been bumped up to the newly created role of chief revenue officer.

Most recently, Derlega was the advocacy account executive at The Washington Post, and was svp, advertising and events, at the National Journal before that. Her appointment as publisher marks a return to The Hill for Derlega, who was the publication’s advertising director before leaving for National Journal.

On the editorial side, The Hill adds two new associate editors, Bill Rehkopf and Cyra Master, and a web editor, Evelyn Rupert. Rehkopf is not only coming from another organization, but from a different medium as well; he has spent over 30 years in radio, most recently as the afternoon anchor at WNEW in Washington before CBS leased the station to Bloomberg in December. Master moves over from Roll Call, where she was assistant managing editor and social media editor. Rupert was previously a web editor at Richmond BizSense and Business Den.

Rafael Bernal joins as a staff writer covering Latino issues. He was previously the managing editor of UPI. Melanie Zanona joins as a reporter covering transportation and Congress. She comes over from CQ Roll Call, where she was a policy reporter.

Tina Daunt joins as a contributor who will focus on political fundraising, Hollywood style. She was previously at The Hollywood Reporter.

The Hill adds to its social media team with the hire of former Daily Mail global head of social media Taylor Lorenz as director of emerging platforms, Mauro Whiteman as social video curator and Paulina Firozi as social media curator.

The circulation department adds Erika Burnett as its director and Dakota Braun, who will work on special events.

Rita Barry-Corke is the director of communications, a new role for the publication. Among other prior roles, Barry-Corke had been a press secretary on Capitol Hill.

The Hill also adds to its art staff with Holly Broderick, who joins as a graphic designer.

That’s it for the new additions to The Hill’s existing structure, but there are more staff hire announcement to go, to accompany subscription service The Hill Extra. It’s targeted at the usual blend of Capitol Hill staffers and Congressman, White House officials, and lobbyists, and promises those groups “personalized insider information.”

Meghan Milkowski has been named president of The Hill Extra. She had previously been vice president of production and circulation at Prometheus Global Media, the former parent company of FishbowlDC.

Jessica Falborn comes on board as executive director of business development. She was previously the senior manager of membership development at National Journal. David Eldridge joins as healthcare editor. Most recently, he was a reporter and editor at Inside Sources, and was at CQ Roll Call and the Washington Times before that.

In an earlier interview with FishbowlDC, when the paid service was still in the works, Chairman and CEO James Finkelstein told FBDC that the paid subscription service was meant as an addition to The Hill, rather than a model for closing off content. “We’re not going to sacrifice what’s in front of the wall for what’s behind the wall,” he told us in February. “Ours will be different behind the wall. And we will continue to add reporters to what’s in front of the wall because we think it’s a critical and important part.”

The staff hires on both sides seem to bear this out.