Washington D.C. political reporting publication, POLITICO, announced its acquisition of Capital New York. This is the first major transaction since publisher Robert Allbritton sold his television holdings in July.
POLITICO co-founder and executive editor, Jim VandeHei will now also serve as president of the Capital New York division, and he tells Folio: this move was a play "to test our journalistic and business theories in another market." He adds that, "Everything we’ve done so far has been in Washington, but there is a certain way we do journalism, a certain velocity, a certain voice, and we’ve always wanted to try it outside of Washington. And to us, New York is the next logical place."
POLITICO declined to share details of the transaction, however VandHei says an important piece of the deal was retaining founding editors Josh Benson and Tom McGeveran. "They have the POLITICO mentality. We just believe in these guys and their approach," he says.
Benson and McGeveran should have ample resources to carry out POLITICO’s objectives, considering they will be hiring two-dozen additional staff members to add to its existing eight-person team. Not only that, but Capital New York will also be launching a new website soon.
Still, the company will be going head-to-head with some major players. But VandeHei doesn’t seem worried.
"If you’re The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal you’re kind of a generalist, you’re writing for a general audience," VandeHei says. "Our aim is to write for a sophisticated audience. A lot of people ask us: ‘Who are your competitors?’ And truth is, I just don’t get that worked up about that question. I really think if we execute our plan and our strategy, if we deliver our end of the bargain on the journalism, I believe people will pay for the content and I believe advertisers will really want to advertise next to that content," he says.
VandeHei hints that the company will be looking to make more investments in the future, but nothing specific is in the pipeline just yet. For the time being, the company will continue to leverage its three-prong revenue model of subscription, advertising and events. However, VandeHei says the company is open to anything on the horizon.
"Robert has been very upfront about the fact that he sold his TV stations and he’s going to make a nice profit and he wants to invest in digital media. So were looking at a lot of opportunities, but right now were focused on POLITICO and Capital," he says.