“Web Site Addicted to Mini-Scoops” or “Is Politico Pandering?”

Those are two of the headline options Howard Kurtz came up with for his Washington Post Media Notes column today. Instead Kurtz went with, “Politico Tries To Mix Steak And Sizzle.”
Kurtz pulls back the curtain on how the 2-year-old, already profitable Website pulls out all the stops for the almighty page view & unique visitor:

In the digital world, success often turns on a quick-click mentality in which an item, tidbit, morsel, video or sexy image is all the bait that’s needed. No one, not even august newspapers, is immune.

Kurtz calls the site, “smart and substantive,” adding, “in its relentless pursuit of traffic — not all that different from the networks’ relentless pursuit of ratings — Politico sometimes plays up the novel, the fleeting, the provocative take that briefly titillates but evaporates within hours. And that has some critics accusing the site of dumbing down the art of reporting.”
Politico’s editor-in-chief John Harris, a former WaPo colleague of Kurtz’s says, “We make no apologies for trying to present news in a way that will grab readers by the lapels. If you’re trying to keep a site current, there’s a strong incentive to move quickly.”

@ChrisAriens chris.ariens@adweek.com Chris Ariens is the managing editor and director of video at Adweek.