Politico’s Robert Allbritton On Trump, a Record Year, Expansion, and Axios
When it launched, in 2007, Politico was part of a new wave of digital media brands — The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Business Insider, Vice, an early iteration of Vox Media, among them — that proffered the future of journalism. But Politico was always distinct from its peers in crucial ways. It was accompanied by a small and limited-circulation print edition. It targeted a specific, influential, and not necessarily millennial-dependent audience. Also, notably, it wasn’t a fund-raising darling. Instead, Politico was entirely funded by Robert Allbritton, an investor and Beltway media scion.
Politico has since lived many lives. It quickly transcended from disrupter to pedigreed Capitol Hill establishment player to international brand, with editions in various states, Canada, and Europe. Along the way, it basically created a form of fast-twitch insider journalism, popularized the modern e-mail newsletter, and helped launch the careers of an impressive number of reporters, such as Maggie Haberman, Ben Smith, and Josh Dawsey. (I worked for Politico for a few years until 2017.) Nearly three years ago, the company endured a dramatic split with a coterie of top personnel, including Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, and Roy Schwartz, who would go on to create a highly influential competing news start-up, Axios.