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Morning Steal: NJ Swipes a Politico Original

Politico‘s Chris Frates is heading to National Journal to be their lobbying correspondent. Frates started at Politico in 2007, making him one of their “originals.” His latest beat, one of several he has had there, was the intersection of money, politics and policy.

In Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier‘s memo to staff, Fournier adds insult to injury by using Politico’s own lingo to say that Frates “drove the conversation” with his health care reform coverage. Fournier also notes that of all the “important” people Frates has interviewed, Mister Rogers is among his favorites.

In the meantime, Politico sent its own memo to reporters this morning, asking if any want to apply for a lobbying reporting position: “We want to hear from anyone in the newsroom who thinks he or she is ready for this opportunity,” write VandeHarris. “We’ll be looking for someone who is ready to produce on an intensely competitive beat….in which being first with news and being the most sophisticated in interpreting news are both essential.”

In a rare variation on the traditional memo, Politico told employees where Frates was going. They didn’t bash NJ outright, but read between the lines and note their use of quotation marks. They don’t think he’s making the right move or going someplace better. They made it clear they tried to talk him into staying:

“Chris is going to National Journal. Founded four decades ago, National Journal sought in ‘a significant relaunch in Fall 2010′ to infuse its traditional trade publication mission with ‘energy, currency, and speed,’ according to its website. We wished Chris, an all-around good egg, would stay with us. But in extensive conversations about his career he made clear that he is attracted to the challenge of writing the long-form overviews that have been the mainstay of National Journal’s weekly subscription magazine, so we wish him well in this move.”

See the memos…

Good morning, all
I’m thrilled to announce a major addition to our staff: Chris Frates. A keen-eyed chronicler of K Street influencers, Chris is leaving Politico to be NJ’s Lobbying Correspondent. At NJ, he will develop a multi-platform beat serving our readers and subscribers, all of whom need to know how the levers of power are pulled in Washington.

At Politico, Chris covers the intersection of money, politics and policy inhabited by Washington’s influence class. He founded and authored POLITICO Influence, a daily intelligence and analysis email chronicling Washington’s lobbyists and message makers. Previously, he covered health care reform for Politico, regularly breaking news and driving the conversation on that all-consuming debate. Frates also founded and wrote “Politico Pulse,” the organization’s daily health reform email briefing that quickly became a must-read crib sheet in Washington.

Before coming to Washington, Chris covered the Colorado legislature and politics for The Denver Post and was part of a team whose work was recognized as a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. In Denver, Chris and our Jim Tankersley created huge headaches for each other, as they went head-to-head covering the state budget.
Chris has covered three statehouses and numerous local, state and national campaigns. And his political analysis has been featured on the CBS Evening News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, WTOP and many other national and local television and radio programs.

Of all the important people he has interviewed, Chris still counts Mister Rogers among his favorites.
He begins at NJ in mid-July. Please join me in welcoming Chris.

Best,
Ron

Subject: An opening to cover  lobbying

Chris Frates, who arrived from Colorado in the spring of 2007, close enough to launch date to count as a POLITICO Original, is leaving us.

Chris has done fine work the past couple months helping us launch POLITICO Influence, a daily newsletter on what’s moving in the world of Washington lobbying.

This creates an opening for what we believe should be one of the best and highest profile beats at the publication: the Washington influence industry.

All the subjects that animate our coverage–legislative battles, horse-race politics, the role of money in Washington–flow through this beat.

We want to hear from anyone in the newsroom who thinks he or she is ready for this opportunity. We’ll be looking for someone who is ready to produce on an intensely competitive beat….in which being first with news and being the most sophisticated in interpreting news are both essential.

Do not be constrained by conventional thoughts of what it means to have “the lobbying beat.” Trust us when we say this is a fantastic chance to broaden our coverage and build a POLITICO franchise.

Chris is going to National Journal. Founded four decades ago, National Journal sought in “a significant relaunch in Fall 2010″ to infuse its traditional trade publication mission with “energy, currency, and speed,” according to its website.

We wished Chris, an all-around good egg, would stay with us. But in extensive conversations about his career he made clear that he is attracted to the challenge of writing the long-form overviews that have been the mainstay of National Journal’s weekly subscription magazine, so we wish him well in this move.

In the meantime, please make sure we hear from you right away if you are interested in helping us chart a new path in our lobbying coverage.

John
Jim
Bill
Danielle

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