Women on the Rise at Politico?

Are women on the rise at Politico? If you recall, in a recent interview with TNR, Executive Editor Jim VandeHei and Isaac Chotiner got in a verbal dust-up on the matter when Chotiner uttered the phrase “overt sexism” and suggested that Politico has a female problem. “I think women would find the premise deeply condescending,” VandeHei shot back at him, saying no one who presently works at Politico would make the charge. And the facts are what they are. Even if you argue this may just be for appearance sake, there are a lot of females in high-ranking roles.

In recent months Politico has been a steady procession of men out of leadership posts. With what looks to be a substantial overhaul of Politico management, the winners are all women. Tim Grieve, who had repeatedly been accused of treating women unfairly, is out and now at National Journal, where his new colleagues say he couldn’t be nicer; Craig Gordon, the highest ranking male outside of VandeHarris is gone as of today — he’s off to Bloomberg News, where he’ll be Deputy Managing Editor. Females in high-ranking roles at Politico include Susan Glasser, who they’ve hired to run a longform magazine project and one their newest hires, Denise Kerston Wells, who they snagged from Washingtonian, to be a senior editor for the longform project. Danielle Jones, meanwhile, is the highest ranking woman in editorial who beat out Gordon and Grieve for job, Kim Kingsley is the COO and Rachel Smolkin, who will take over for Gordon.

We asked Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris if this has been a concerted effort combat the rap and put women in top roles and will report back if he replies.

See the extremely complimentary memo from Politico on Gordon as well as Bloomberg‘s announcement…

From Politico‘s John Harris…

As many of you know, Craig Gordon in recent days told us that he is leaving POLITICO to take a job as deputy managing editor of Bloomberg News, where he will serve as the number-three person in Bloomberg’s large bureau here, with an emphasis on running daily news operations.

This announcement is the essence of bittersweet news…. Craig has been with POLITICO since early 2009 and has been a critical figure in our steady growth in size and editorial quality since then. At the personal level, he has become a good friend. But after hearing Craig describe his professional ambitions and interests it is clear that this job is a good move for him, and reason to celebrate both his strong run at Politico and this new opportunity at a respected news organization that is quite different from us in size, audience, and editorial mission.

Jim, Bill, Danielle and I are pleased for Craig and hope the entire newsroom joins us in wishing him well.

Even those of you who have not worked directly with Craig are in his debt. No one approaches his job with more dedication and commitment to quality–or willingness to work the long hours to get things right. These qualities have helped steer our publication through many big moments. One hazard for an editor as talented as Craig is that growing responsibilities encroach upon his greatest gift–massaging raw copy. When words and craftsmanship matter, Craig is among the best line editors I have encountered over 30 years in the business.

One testament to Craig’s success here is his role in building an editing team full of people with outsized talents and readiness to lead.

We are using Craig’s departure as occasion to think broadly about Politico’s ambitions and the leadership team that will achieve them. I am looking forward to wide-ranging conversations with people here about their own ambitions and how best to use this moment of opportunity. Particularly with many people on richly earned vacations, these conversations will take a few weeks.

In the near-term, Rachel Smolkin will take over Craig’s duties of “running the day” to make sure we do not lose a beat for even a moment. Whenever Rachel has taken the wheel, including over an extended stretch earlier this summer, she has hugely impressed people up and down the newsroom with her superb judgment and ability to keep the site sparkling. We are in good and responsible hands.

For now, let’s all give Craig our thanks both for his contribution to Politico and the untold quantities of gum we have consumed from his desk. We invited him to stay as long as he wishes. In order to give himself a rest before the new gig he indicated he’ll be wrapping up here early this week.


From Bloomberg‘s Susan Goldberg…


As you know Bloomberg has stepped up its presence in Washington, expanding our coverage of politics and government and widening our audience and influence. As part of that effort, I’m pleased to announce a great new hire, and new roles for some of our finest editors.

Craig Gordon, the managing editor at Politico, will join Bloomberg starting Aug. 19 as the deputy managing editor for breaking news. Craig brings an unparalleled enthusiasm for news, politics and all things Washington. He has been the managing editor and chief deputy managing editor at Politico since 2010, where he supervised the newsroom and coached reporters and editors to break news and produce stories that got Washington talking. He has run White House coverage, and was a Newsday reporter, editor and Washington bureau chief. He covered the crash of TWA Flight 800 as part of their Pulitzer Prize-winning team and also anchored Newsday’s Iraq war coverage from Qatar and traveled to Baghdad and Afghanistan. Please welcome him.

Deputy Managing Editor Mark Silva will focus his efforts fulltime on the Washington part of the website and our other digital efforts. Mark is a talented and fast writer and editor, with a sharp eye for the story and a passion for the Web. He will be spearheading a new initiative to grow our presence online, integrate more of the policy and economic stories we do, and boost our efforts on social media. Mark has led the way by starting the Political Capital blog and has been instrumental in increasing the exposure we get for Bloomberg stories. With the arrival next month of Justin Smith as CEO of the Bloomberg Media Group, we expect to enhance our focus on digital media.

Jeanne Cummings is being promoted to deputy managing editor for enterprise stories. Since joining us from Politico in June 2011, Jeanne has helped build a team that has broken news on money in politics, produced several series and, with Mike Tackett and Al Hunt, covered the presidential election in a way that was deeper and better than Bloomberg ever had before. Going forward, Jeanne is going to help us plan, organize and execute enterprise across all government teams — everything from the sharp overnight pieces off the news to award-caliber projects that take our coverage in Washington to the next level. She will continue to run the politics team.

So how is all this going to work? Our government and policy team leaders will be working with Craig and Jeanne every day on stories. They will continue to report to Managing Editor Tim Franklin, as will Craig and Jeanne. Managing Editor/Bureau Chief Cesca Antonelli will continue to coordinate coverage and projects across teams, floors and buildings.

These are exciting times in Washington. These moves will help us further set the agenda for serious, well-rounded coverage and raise our profile and the competitive bar around town. Please join me in congratulating Craig, Mark and Jeanne.