Secret Details Emerge on Politico Project

Insider details are emerging about Politico’s POLITICO PRO, which has so far been a relatively closely guarded project for the famously self-promotional company. Policy isn’t sexy. But amongst top brass at a number of publications around Washington it is viewed as a huge growth area in D.C. journalism.

Sources with first-hand knowledge tell FishbowlDC that Politico does not see Bloomberg News’s BGOV as a competitor and that, in fact, the two companies late last year discussed working together. Politico is selling its new product as reporting on policies, politics and personalities; BGOV is selling its product as more of a data service and analytical tool for investors.

Politico unveils POLITICO PRO next week.

Staff was briefed yesterday. FishbowlDC has learned specifics that higher-ups don’t want rolled out yet. 1. The project has more than doubled its early projections for subscribers. 2. We hear the number is several hundred, and soon will top 1000 – lots of Hill and agency officials and staffers. 3. General Electric has signed on as launch sponsor for all three new subscription sites: energy, health care and technology.

In more competitive details, Politico has hired 29 new editorial writers and editors, more than NJ had for its site-wide relaunch, and more reporters than BGOV has brought aboard for its product. Update: Bloomberg PR disputes this. Read about it after the jump…All are anticipated to hire more reporters. Washingtonian is set to run a big piece on this new, hyper-competitive market as early as next issue.

NJ Communications Director Taylor West downplayed the heightened competition factor among the publications as did a Bloomberg spokeswoman. See their quotes after the jump… Also see a full internal list of the Politico Pro staffWest: “National Journal has a well-established reputation for providing in-depth reporting and analysis on politics and policy for its subscribers.  Our reporters and editors are steeped in the issue areas they cover and are regarded as experts in their fields.  Politico does good work and is an aggressive news organization, but we can’t really comment on their new paid service because we haven’t really had a chance to see it or evaluate it.

As for BGov, Bloomberg does good data analysis in the business field and will likely do the same at BGov, analyzing the impact of policy on business.  There is a lot of information – and a lot of information needs – swirling around Washington, so there is room for a variety of news outlets that serve customers in different ways.”

A Bloomberg Spokeswoman remarked, “We don’t view the products or organizations as competitors.”

But later, four and a half hours past my deadline, Bloomberg suddenly had a lot more to say. After several emails with a variety of numbers, Bloomberg publicist Sarah Feinberg offered this ultimate breakdown of numbers but refused to name the reporters, saying she would have to get permission from each reporter for the person’s name to be released — a practice that is unheard of in Washington journalism.

The breakdown:

71 new hires as journalists.
4 internal transfers.
40 new hires as analysts.

PoliticoPro Staff

Tim Grieve is the editor-in-chief of POLITICOPro. He was previously a deputy managing editor for POLITICO, where he ran the site’s congressional coverage.  Before joining POLITICO in early 2008, Grieve was a senior writer at Salon, a reporter at The Sacramento Bee and a lawyer in California.

Energy Editor Dan Berman was the editor of E&E Publishing’s Environment & Energy Daily before joining POLITICO in 2010 as a policy and breaking news editor. Deputy Energy Editor Bob King is an award-winning reporter and editor who spent 17 years on the environmental beat in Florida, mainly at The Palm Beach Post, before joining the Pro team. Senior Energy and Environment Reporter Darren Samuelsohn came to POLITICO Pro after nearly a decade dominating his beat at E&E Publishing’s Greenwire and E&E Daily. Reporter Darren Goode has more than 10 years of experience covering energy and environmental issues for publications including CongressDaily and National Journal. Reporter Robin Bravender covered climate policy and the EPA for E&E Publishing before joining POLITICOPro. Reporter Darius Dixon comes to POLITICOPro from E&E Publishing’s Climate Wire, where he covered energy technology. He was also an intern for Wired and a fact-checker for The Nation. Reporter Patrick Reis is a veteran of E&E Publishing’s Greenwire, where he covered the politics of coal mining, resource conflicts and the Interior Department. Reporter Josh Voorhees is the lead author of Morning Energy. He previously covered energy and transportation policy, politics and business for E&E Publishing’s Greenwire and E&E Daily.