Politics Daily remembered

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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I heard the news one year ago today, oh boy.

AOL had acquired The Huffington Post. This meant Arianna Huffington would now lead a newly-formed Huffington Post Media Group, which would “Integrate All Huffington Post and AOL Content, Including News, Tech, Women, Local, Multicultural, Entertainment, Video, Community, and More.”

This, meant I would now be working for an overtly liberal outlet. It also, I assumed, meant the outlet for which I wrote — Politics Daily — was a dead site walking. (One day later, on Feb. 8, I announced I would be joining TheDC)

It took a while for PD to officially board up the windows, but I was ultimately right. It was too good to last. By spring of 2011, it had faded away.

I wasn’t an editor or a manager at PD, so I don’t pretend to know much about the business side of things — about the page views or the ad revenue, etc. — but I was in love with the model. The site’s focus was solely on providing superb content, while eschewing the sexy, tawdry, tabloidy stuff.

Clearly, that’s not how the web works.

The world goes on. And it is a tribute to PD that so many of its key players have done so well.

Melinda Henneberger, the visionary leader who built the team, is now at the Washington Post. PD’s top-notch executive editor Carl Cannon is now the Washington Editor of RealClearPolitics. White House Correspondent Alex Wagner now has her own MSNBC show (thanks for having me on!). Jill Lawrence is now managing editor for politics at National Journal. Patricia Murphy contributes to The Daily Beast, and I see her on CNN frequently. Walter Shapiro’s doing great work at The New Republic. David Corn continues his work at Mother Jones, and is a regular fixture on MSNBC.

I could go on…

In the end, Politics Daily may not have survived, but it at least made an indelible mark on me. The opportunity to work with seasoned journalists of this caliber was tremendously valuable. I suspect most of us benefited from the experience.

I gained much from the experience.

But if I had it to do over, I would recommend more super model slide shows.

Matt K. Lewis