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Memo Reveals Internal Details on Politico Pro

Politico is rolling out details of its new operation Politico Pro, describing it as an effort to mix politics and policy. They’re still in the hiring process, so if that’s of interest, read on.

On Sunday afternoon, Politico Pro Editor-in-Chief Tim Grieve sent a lengthy note to staff unveiling details on the new venture. “I want you all to hear the news from me first,” he wrote.

The memo is heavy on complimentary prose about staff, saying, among other things, that the new operation will encompass “the best journalists in the business” who will cover the new product with the same “high-impact” and “high-velocity” as Politico.

Highlights:

* Some of the content will be for Politico Pro subscribers only.

* The launch will happen in early 2011.

* Dan Berman (who was hired away from E&E) is heading the Energy reporting team.

* Kim Hart (who was hired away from The Hill) will be Tech Editor. Grieve said she was put into place Dick Cheney style, meaning he asked her to help find the best person to head the team and it ended up being her.

* Politico Pro will have its own copy desk and web team. LaRonda Peterson was snagged from Politico‘s copy desk.

* When the team is complete, there will be 40 editorial employees. Some have been hired, but there are still more hires to come.

Read Grieve’s full internal memo after the jump…

We’ll be going public in the morning with a lot of information about POLITICO Pro; I want you all to hear the news from me first.

As most of you know, Pro is POLITICO’s effort to dominate the intersection of politics and policy in Washington. We’ll cover the politics of energy, technology and health care reform the same way POLITICO covers national politics – with high-impact, high-velocity, POLITICO-style reporting from the best journalists in the business.

Some of the content we produce for Pro will be exclusive to subscribers. Some of it will lead our main site. All of it will be animated by the personality, style and focused mission that pervade our entire publication. And that will make Pro distinctly different than any other policy-focused publication on the market today.

We’ll launch in early 2011, but we’ve been hard at work on Pro for months. Beth Frerking, Katherine Lehr, Dan Berman, Kim Hart and I have been meeting with dozens upon dozens of job candidates; Ryan Mannion and his team – first and foremost, W.G. Pringle – have been burning the midnight oil to develop a site that’s as sharp and as innovative as the journalism that will be on it; Poppy MacDonald has been preparing to roll out our subscription-sales effort and – with Beth Lester – putting together some terrific “First Advisor” events to spread the word and get feedback on Pro. Kim Kingsley, Danielle Jones, Bill Nichols and Dianna Heitz have been working hard to make sure that POLITICO Pro and POLITICO work well together.

You’ll be hearing more about all of this as we get closer to launch.  For now, I want to update you all on the editorial hiring – if only so you can put names to the new faces you’re seeing around the newsroom.

ENERGY: Dan Berman, who came to us from E&E over the summer, will run POLITICO Pro’s energy team.  Dan’s a force of nature – I stand in awe of the quantity of copy he moves each day – and he’ll be leading a pretty amazing team.  We’ve all been blown away by the work Darren Samuelsohn’s done since moving over from E&E earlier this year.  If you’re an early-riser, I’ll bet you’ve also been enjoying the stylings of Josh Voorhees, who came from E&E to write Morning Energy.  Robin Bravender is our latest newcomer from E&E – it took us a long time to get her, but her scoops last week alone are proof that she was worth the wait.  Darren Goode – the extraordinarily talented “other Darren” from The Hill – will join us soon.  And we’ve got a couple of folks in the energy pipeline that I can’t announce just yet, plus an opening for a deputy editor still to fill. It’s a killer team already, and it’s only going to get better.

TECH: Ask any insider about the best tech coverage in Washington, and the first name you’ll hear is Kim Hart’s.  I asked Kim to help me find the best editor for our tech section and – Cheney-style! – it quickly became clear to me that she was it.  Kim will continue writing as much as possible, but she’ll also take on the role of Tech editor for Pro.  It’s not much of a jump for her: She’s already an incredible mentor, colleague and informal editor for two other soon-to-be-Pros:  Tony Romm, who joined us from The Hill earlier this year, and Jen Martinez, who joined us recently from GigaOm and the Tribune Co.’s Washington bureau.  We’ll be hiring four more tech journalists in the next few weeks – more news on that coming soon.

HEALTH CARE: I can’t say enough about Jen Haberkorn and Sarah Kliff.  Everywhere I go, I hear health-care insiders talking about POLITICO Pulse.  Anyone who still thinks the morning products are all about aggregation should take a look at Pulse; Sarah and Jen break news there every day. They’ve built on the incredible lead Chris Frates, Carrie Budoff Brown, Meredith Shiner, Patrick O’Connor and others gave us on health care reform, and their work will be the foundation for a vastly expanded health care team.  Its leader: Diane Webber, a talented writer, editor and teacher who comes to us via Scholastic, the New York Post, the Brooklyn Papers and other publications.  Oh, and I think Glenn Thrush knows her, too.

PRODUCTION: Maybe I’m saving the best for last.  Pro will have its own copy desk and web team — to make sure our ahead-of-the-curve coverage gets out while it’s still ahead of the curve, and to help grow copy editors and web producers who are experts in the fields we’re covering.  I’m thrilled to announce that LaRonda Peterson has agreed to move over from POLITICO’s copy desk to become Pro’s production editor.  I worked closely with LaRonda back when I was running the Sunday/Monday papers.  And like anyone who’s had the pleasure, I’ve come to know her as a smart, sharp, fast editor with a hugely bright future in our business.  I’m so excited that she’s joining Pro, and I’m also pretty pleased with the team she’ll have working for her.  Abby McIntyre, who’s been doing a bang-up job handling the morning newsletters, will move to a copy editing slot on Pro, and we’ve hired the first of the Pro web producers: Kate Nocera from the New York Daily News; Jess Kamen, a Johns Hopkins grad now in J-school at Georgetown; and Alex Guillén, a recent grad from William & Mary who currently edits a smart group blog.

If you’re thinking “that’s a lot of people,” you’re right.  When Pro launches early next year, we’ll have more than 40 editorial employees – about the same number POLITICO itself had when it launched in 2007.

If you know reporters and editors who’d like to join the Pro team – or if you’re interested yourself – please let me know. In the meantime, please join me in welcoming all the new folks to the POLITICO family – and thank you for your patience, help and support as we prepare to go Pro.

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