Politico’s got problems.
Huffington., The Huffington Post’s iPad-only magazine, is out with a new article today giving readers an inside look at the struggles of Politico — a Northern Virginia-based newspaper and website.
Here are the top 9 juiciest tidbits from the piece (because the tenth item would have been a little too inside baseball, kind of like Politico). If you want to read the whole thing, it’s 99 cents on the iPad.
1.) Politico’s “screw loose” reporters drink the Kool Aid
“Vandehei, who’s fond of saying that his most successful worker bees have a certain ‘screw loose,’ also embraced the idea that everybody at his politics-obsessed enterprise should just keep swallowing their Kool Aid. ‘We get flak for being a cult sometimes,’ Vandehei said, according to staffers present. ‘But you know what? We are a cult!’”
2.) Politico’s top editors, Jim Vandehei and John Harris, may not stick around much longer
The article regularly recites a rumor that Politico’s top newsmen might not stick it out until the 2016 election cycle.
“Having built a sizable and still-expanding newsroom of 225 editorial and business staffers, Politico has to size up new revenue streams and reshape the franchise in such a way that staffers speculate the company’s co-founders may not stick around a few years from now.”
Vandehei and Harris “may grow restless and depart if Politico Pro [a pricey subscription-based policy news service] — and a more trade-oriented news approach — come to dominate and define the enterprise.”
3.) Politico’s traffic is down from last year, and it’s an election year
In a trend first noted by The Daily Caller, Politico’s traffic has fallen behind its rivals in 2012, and has yet to even meet its 2011 high-water mark.
“In the middle of an election year, with political junkies frothing, Politico’s traffic during the first five months of 2012 is down, from an average of 4.229 million unique visitors in 2011 to 4.165 million so far this year, according to the Internet marketing research firm comScore.”
4.) So many staffers have left Politico that they’ve stopped serving the ‘awkward cake’
Departures have become so routine that the going-away parties have fallen off.
“Politico has long had trouble retaining talent in its newsroom, where staffers thrive or barely survive in a male-dominated, hard-driving environment defined by frantic 5 a.m. emails from editors and weekend assignments. There have been so many departures lately that Politico editors have done away with the traditional going-away cake in the newsroom, which staffers jokingly call the ‘awkward cake’ given what they describe as Harris’ sometimes clumsy send-offs.”