Allbritton’s Announcement

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Just released:

    Allbritton Communications Signs Political Journalist Heavyweights to Lead Groundbreaking Multimedia Political Coverage

    Arlington, VA — November 20, 2006 — Washington Post Political editor and best-selling author John Harris and national political reporter Jim VandeHei announced this morning they are leaving their positions to join a new multimedia political news venture formed by Allbritton Communications. Several additional nationally-recognized journalists will be joining the venture, creating an unmatched, web-based, one-stop-shop for political news coverage. They will challenge the traditional media for dominance in covering national politics and Congress.

    The new venture will combine Allbritton’s new Capitol Hill newspaper, The Capitol Leader, which Harris and VandeHei will lead and the Washington media resources of Allbritton’s ABC affiliate, WJLA-TV, and its 24-hour cable news service, NewsChannel 8, along with national exposure on the CBS Television Network. This unique partnership will include carriage of stories, interviews and regular features on Face the Nation and CBS This Morning as well as CBS Radio. Tying these traditional media together, the new platform will be anchored on the web, pushing the next generation of political journalism: more conversational, more interactive and more transparent in taking the audience behind the scenes of how news happens and how it gets reported.

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    Robert Allbritton, Chairman of Allbritton Communications, said, “This is the future of political journalism. Our ambitious goal is to cover this complex topic more thoroughly than has ever been done in history — and to provide that coverage in whatever form and whenever consumers want it. We are assembling the ultimate in a political and news consumer’s dream team. Our alliance with CBS and others we will form with national media will be integrated with our extensive Washington media resources. We will be able to provide unprecedented access to political information and analysis readily available from your TV sets, newspapers, magazines, computers and multiple hand held devices.”

    “We believe many of the old ways of journalism do not fit the new demands of modern media,” said Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., President of Allbritton Communications. “This venture is uniquely situated to dominate media coverage of Capitol Hill, the White House and all of political Washington.”

    Sean McManus, President CBS News, added, “We at CBS News are excited to be part of this new approach, which we’re confident will add enormous insight and depth to our coverage of the new Congress, the primaries, and the 2008 elections. Our network television exclusive arrangement with these talented political reporters will help make CBS News the best source on television, radio, and the web for smart political reporting.”

    Martin Tolchin, Sr. Publisher and Editor of The Capitol Leader, noted that, “This incredible political horsepower will add immensely to our efforts to create the premier Capitol Hill newspaper.”

    Harris and VandeHei have spent their careers in traditional news media organizations, rising to the pinnacle of American political journalism. Harris has covered the White House and national politics, written a New York Times best selling biography of President Clinton and recently coauthored the highly acclaimed book on modern politics, The Way to Win. VandeHei has covered Congress, the White House and presidential politics for the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. They are regulars on TV.

    Harris and VandeHei note that their move is tied to a new vision of political reporting. It uses every medium on the web — text, video, and interactivity — to pull back the curtain on political stories and narrow the gap between reporters and their audience. While other traditional news organizations are cutting back on resources and their commitment to political journalism, Allbritton is planning to invest heavily in the next generation of journalism.

    “The country is on the brink of what promises to be one of the most intense and consequential presidential campaigns in decades. Allbritton Communications has made a commitment to telling the story of this campaign and its personalities as comprehensively as any news organization in America,” said Harris.

    Adds VandeHei: “We will put together the best political reporting team in country today and deliver the news the way people want it: fast, fair and first.”