Politico Lays Out State Expansion Plans

Only a week removed from the debut of their European expansion on April 21, Politico has announced several key moves within their state coverage.

Only a week removed from the debut of their European expansion on April 21, Politico has announced several key moves within their state coverage.

Firstly, Capital New York, which Politico acquired in 2013 to gain a foothold in the NY market, will rebrand itself as POLITICO New York.

“We have decided all expansion will take place under the POLITICO banner in the states and overseas,” wrote chief executive Jim VandeHei. “We will have lots of outposts but all will fall under one name.”

Building off the success of their Florida and New York Playbooks, VandeHei also announced that Politico’s Playbook franchise will be launching in New Jersey, California, Illinois and Massachusetts this year.

Below is the full staff note from VandeHei:

We want to share details of a new and very important dimension to our rapidly unfolding expansion.

First, we have decided all expansion will take place under the POLITICO banner in the states and overseas. We will have lots of outposts but all will fall under one name. We are blessed with a brand people know and respect – and a publisher in Robert Allbritton who wants to spread it everywhere.

This starts with our Capital New York operation. It will become POLITICO New York. It will be the same great staff and approach under a new name. We have New York politics and policy wired – and this will allow readers to not only enjoy our local coverage but benefit from knowing what’s happening in other states.

Capital has been an amazing success story, a publication built by journalists with true passion and soul, who created a loyal and powerful following and showed us all what the future of state coverage can be.

This gang has inspired us so much that we are asking the architects of the Capital experiment – Josh Benson, Tom McGeveran and Katherine Lehr – to lead our state expansion. Working with Danielle Jones, they will continue to run our New York operation and also set up new POLITICO outposts in a cascading series of states, starting this year with New Jersey and Florida. We will centralize management of all state expansion in our New York offices but have reporting staffs on the ground in each new location we target.

Josh and Tom will coordinate with Susan Glasser back here to make sure we also leverage our state-based reporters to write stories for a national audience; Susan’s work with Mark Caputo, our Florida Playbook writer, shows the huge possibilities of coming at big political stories from angles others simply can’t replicate.

Later this year, we will launch POLITICO in Jersey with a mix of free and paid content for the state written by reporters with expertise and experience in the state. We will create a bureau with the clear mandate to dominate coverage in Trenton and beyond. This process is underway.

Shortly after, we will launch in Florida, hiring a team of political and policy writers in Tallahassee to join Caputo, who’s already killing it down there.

We will follow with additional states as quickly as we can.

Meanwhile, we will build off the success of our state Playbooks in New York and Florida by launching Playbooks in New Jersey and three additional states in 2015: California, Illinois and Massachusetts. Your business colleagues have secured Bank of America as the sponsor of Playbook events in these states, to showcase our focus on and expertise in state politics.

We have a chance here to do something special for journalism and state coverage. Ever since I walked into the statehouse in Albany after we purchased Capital, and saw again an important, powerful institution with a diminished press presence, I hoped we could find a template for saving coverage of state government. I believe we have. We will have a blast proving it.