Vanity Fair on Politico

Excellent article in VanityFair on Politico, which VF says is now breakeven on $15m of revenue, half each online and in print (32k circ) and 100 employees.

In the fourth issue of Wired magazine, in the fall of 1993, just as the Internet was entering public consciousness, Michael Crichton, the author of The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park, wrote an essay arguing that newspapers were doomed because they were too dumb. As information became cheaper, more plentiful, and easier to get, consumers, he argued, would become ever more immersed in their specific interests and understand that their more generally oriented paper—at least in the matter of a reader’s special interest, but also by inference everything else—had no idea what it was talking about.

Where I think the article misses the mark, however, is by labeling Politco as almost exclusively the Wonkvile Chronicle, which is a description completely out of whack with a website that reaches 6.7 milli0n monthly uniques.  I agree that the new Allbritton publication has done an impressive job being a must read for insiders.  But its relatively irreverent voice and multi-layered content model has irrefutably expanded the debate on politics and public policy.  That’s at least a big a societal contribution as is the example it sets of a high-quality news organization that is closing in on purely commercial viability.


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