Politico is at an editorial ‘crossroads’

Josh Harris, left, and Jim Vandehei. (Huffington. )
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The Lineup collects the media stories, big and small, that are on our radar each day.

The official first issue of The Huffington Post's new iPad magazine, Huffington, landed in the iTunes store this morning. The big piece is a profile of Politico by Michael Calderone, who used to work there, covering media for the obsessive and very prolific Washington website.

The crux of the piece (no direct link) is this:

Politico, the last election cycle’s insurgent, has morphed into a muscular member of this cycle’s establishment. No longer the upstart it was during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Politico’s current success is also freighted with the reality that however cultish it may be, however pivotal it has become, it is also at a crossroads: 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.

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The piece also contains the following morsels:

  • Politico's CPM inside the Beltway is a whopping $50-60, as opposed to $10-20 outside.
  • Politico had discussions with Mark Halperin to do a Sunday show in early 2010.
  • Politico's traffic is down in 2012 from 2011, according to comScore stats for the first five months of the year. There's been a "mutiny" on the politics desk, whereby Charlie Mahtesian, the national politics editor, is no longer editing star reporters Alex Burns and Maggie Haberman, but just writing.
  • A number of contracts for high-profile talent are up post-election, including those of Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush. 
  • Editor-in-chief John Harris comments for the first time on ending Ben Smith's 2012 column after just two months: “I felt Ben had taken on an assignment [at rival publication BuzzFeed] that deserved his mind-share. I think he underestimated and I underestimated to what extent a column would work in his interests and work in ours.”
  • And describing the intense, pressure-cooker atmosphere of Politico's reporting culture, one ex-staffer compared the newsroom to "The Hunger Games."

If you want to read the whole piece, you'll have download the Huffington app (free for the first month) from the iTunes store.

In a related-item that Politico gave to Adweek 12 hours or so before the Huffington piece dropped, Charlie Warzel reports that the site is making money with its PoliticoPro subscription service.

And then there's this, per Politico media reporter Dylan Byers: "POLITICO reporter Joe Williams has been suspended pending review of recent controversial comments he made on television and Twitter, POLITICO editors informed staff late Thursday night."

In other news...

BBC vet Mark Thompson is being eyed for the New York Times Co. C.E.O. gig. [The Guardian / paidContent]

Two new directors have been named to the Times Company's board. [NYT/Media Decoder]

NBC News isn't dominant in the way it was. [The New York Times]

An awkwardly timed Ann Curry profile hits the web. [Ladies Home Journal]

NBC News is finally getting its own website. [Politico]

MSNBC's has a new 3 p.m. show. [The Huffington Post]

The New Yorker isn't dropping Jonah Lerer. [Jim Romenesko]