As news spread clear across Washington Thursday morning that Politico was getting a new editor — Susan Glasser — the old editor — John Harris — who’s keeping his editor-in chief title, was hanging out outside the National Press Club. Harris was the odd choice to emcee an event upstairs promoting “Rival Survival” a new reality show on Discovery Channel starring Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).
The Mirror took the opportunity to grill Harris on the current state of affairs at Politico. In tow with him (Politico heads often travel with small towel boyesque entourages) was Politico Playbook’s famed Daniel Lippman.
Harris, whose role is being expanded to launch Politico‘s european news outlet, answered the burning question of having two people with the title “editor” next to their name. Who will really be running things?
“I don’t expect to be that hands on,” he said of Glasser’s new role of running the newsroom operation. “Somebody’s got to take the wheel. Susan is more than ready.”
Harris assured that he’s not relocating to another shore just yet. “I’m not moving to Europe, but I will be traveling there a lot,” he said. “You have to be there to start a new publication.”
As for handing some of his duties over to Glasser, he said, “If we are going to grow, we have to let go of things,” he said, sounding all Zen. “She’s a born editor, which doesn’t describe the cofounders.”
By that he means himself and now President and CEO Jim VandeHei, former Washington Post reporters who founded Politico in 2007.
Asked if Glasser’s rise to editor has been in the works for awhile, Harris replied, “We’ve been discussing the larger challenge of how we expand in order to grow,” he said. “That’s been a preoccupation of ours for the last couple of years.”
Of course, he didn’t quite answer the question. But that’s okay. We nonetheless appreciate his street time. Glasser came to Politico to run their new magazine in November of 2013. So somewhere between then and now and the recent loss of ex-NYT‘s Rick Berke, who didn’t work out as Executive Editor, hey, they decided she’d be a good fit for Harris’ job.
All in all, Harris seemed relieved and happy to hand over his duties. “You know Daniel, don’t you?” he asked, gesturing to a smiling Lippman. “He’s everywhere.”