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Posts Tagged ‘Jess Kamen’

Politico Reporters on Edge: Scenes From the Newsroom

Wednesday morning was not a calm scene inside Politico‘s newsroom. While at least three members of the newsroom staff have lost their jobs as of late, due to, in some cases, merit and the natural course of restructuring post election, some rank and file reporters and even those in higher posts, are exhibiting a case of the jitters, wondering, are we next?

Fishbowl sources inside Politico informed us that at least three reporters and one editor were spotted cruising job listings on Wednesday morning, with many whispering and worrying about the recent job cuts. “They don’t seem to understand how this method of firing people and letting the rumor mill flourish is making a lot of people unsettled,” a Politico insider told us strictly on condition of anonymity. “A lot of fear. What’s worse, there’s a sense that the bosses LIKE the fear. Strange way to motivate a staff that has helped make you rich.”

But a Politico source in a leadership role tells us their fears are unfounded, that 2013 will be a year of growth and job security. What’s more, as we’ve reported, 30 positions on both the news and business side, are expected to be filled. And Editor-in-Chief John Harris confirms the sentiment.

“Politico has very robust plans for growth ahead of us in the new year and we expect everyone who is currently on our staff to be participating in a number of new initiatives that we will be undertaking in the new year,” Harris told FishbowlDC in a phone interview.

So should reporters just take a chill pill? To put this in some context, Politico recently parted ways with a small number of employees — Photographer Jay Westcott and Politico Pro technology writer Jess Kamen and others.  As it was explained to us by the Politico source in a leadership role… Read more

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Layoffs at Politico? HuffPost, Please.

When HuffPost‘s Michael Calderone left in Politico in March of 2010, no love was lost on either end. The whys of that are hard to decipher — he broke news and worked at a feverish pace as most reporters there do — but the fit was never a good one. Which may help explain his rollout of anti-Politico stories in recent months, the latest of which has Politico laying people off, even though the decisions appear to be nothing of the kind. In June of last year, Calderone wrote a lengthy insiders piece on his former employer. In it, he reported on the “stressful, hamster wheel” environment in which a “handful of reporters receive preferential treatment from company leadership, while the majority are left drifting in a far off galaxy.”

In his most recent story on Politico, Calderone reported that two people have been let go in recent days — Photo Editor Jay Westcott, who opted to go public with the news on Facebook and Twitter and Jess Kamen, a technology reporter. These things are usually quiet matters. But there’s nothing quiet about Westcott, who also went public last September about his split from his fiancé, Madeline Marshall, also a Politico employee, and told his Facebook pals about his heartbreak. After she changed her status to “single”, Westcott snapped, “I took that picture. Take it down.” Eventually he seemed to come to his senses when he wrote, “I am devastated. I have to get off Facebook.”

So two people were shown the door. As Politico’s Editor-in-Chief John Harris eventually told Calderone for his story, Publisher Robert Allbritton has given them the green light to expand and bring on 30 new hires in 2013 — does this sound like a season of layoffs? To be sure, the word “layoff” is a loaded one and HuffPost, a Politico competitor, was sure to use it in their headline. The word, like it or not, denotes a company that’s struggling. On Sunday, WaPo media writer Erik Wemple also questioned Calderone’s use of the word. “Here’s one instance in which terminology matters a great deal,’ he wrote. “‘Layoffs,’ after all, sends a signal that the organization is shrinking, unable to meet its budgets with current staffing levels. If that’s the case here, it’s a giant story…” If not, he added, it’s a “far less consequential story.”

But Politico, struggling? WaPo recently made big offers to Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman. Both rejected them to stay.

In Wemple’s story we learn that Politicos such as Harris, Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, Haberman, Danielle Jones and Kim Kingsley have all signed multi-year contracts, crushing any impression that an exodus is underway. “He got played by bad sources because a few junior people left,” a media observer explained. “Politico has people come and go every week, so some variation of his dumb and naïve story could run most months.”

Asked to comment on whether he holds any ill will against his former employer and whether “layoffs” was a proper word to use, Calderone remarked to FishbowlDC… Read more