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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Calderone’

Ex-Politico Employee: ‘The Nightmare is Over’

A former Politico reporter related all too well to Karin Tanabe‘s newly published work of fiction, The List, in which she offers a veiled glimpse of her former workplace and coworkers. Although the book’s description is fairly tame, doesn’t name names or come close to kicking the high octane news outlet in the teeth quite like the recent stories from ex-Politico Michael Calderone, now at HuffPost, at least one former employee publicly resonated with her account.

The quote below comes from Stephanie Christensen, a media coordinator, who left Politico in July of 2011. See the lovely Playbook farewell from Mike Allen after the jump.

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Cory Booker Appears Babyish With Press

Newark Mayor and and possible Senate hopeful Cory Booker may be popular on Twitter, but he may be a bit of a baby with the media.

In a story over the weekend, Politico‘s Maggie Haberman writes,

“Booker initially agreed to be interviewed by POLITICO, rescheduled twice, then canceled 20 minutes after a reporter asked for comment on criticisms he had received from a prominent New Jersey Democrat about how he’s handled his campaign rollout.”

Booker did appear on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” Friday night and was presumably supposed to provide a contrast to USA Today‘s Jackie Kucinich and actress Eva Longoria, who wore her hair in a bouncy high ponytail. The show isn’t the easiest, but then again Booker kept his ramblings vanilla and did nothing to make himself stand out in any way.

Haberman, meanwhile… Read more

Ex-Politico Scribe Dishes In ‘The List’

If there were any doubt as to whether the stuff reported about the culture in Politico‘s newsroom were true, look no further than Karin Tanabe‘s to-be-released novel, The List.

The plot centers on a 20-something reporter who leaves a “cushy” New York magazine job for D.C.’s “hottest (and most cut-throat) political rag.” It’s well known that the fictional “political rag” is inspired by Politico, where Tanabe used to work as a “Click” gossip reporter.

FishbowlDC received an advance copy of The List, which publishes next month. Even in the first two chapters, we found relatively unflattering stories about Politico‘s newsroom. Nothing we haven’t read before, but negative, nonetheless.

Take the protagonist, Adrienne Brown, who on her first day as a style reporter at the Capitolist (a.k.a. Politico fictionalized) is treated to “awkward cake.” Last summer HuffPost‘s Michael Calderone reported about this real-life thing inside Politico, indeed referred to by staffers as “awkward cake.” In other words, the dessert presented to the newsroom to bid farewell to a staffer. (By the way, this happens in a number newsrooms around town, on birthdays as well as farewell gatherings. It’s always awkward cake.)

Another character in the book, David Bush, is clearly Mike Allen. He’s described as “a man with a safari hat stuck to his sweaty head” and “round tortoiseshell glasses.” He only removes the hat for TV appearances, which sounds more like White House scribe Glenn Thrush, until Bush is further described as “quirky” and “a genius.” His job: To write the Morning List (“It’s like the Bible, but with bullet points.”) Of course, the NYT profile of Politico in 2010 referred to Allen as “the man the White House wakes up to” and described him as “obsessively private” and “a legendary hoarder and pack rat.”

On and on it goes, making Politico sound like a wretched place to work. But there are stark differences between Tanabe, the real woman who worked for Politico, and her book’s main character, Adrienne Brown. Tanabe, who is brunette, not blonde as shown above, never previously worked for a New York magazine; rather, she was managing editor for Washington Life. She also wrote an edgy blog called NakedThanks.com, in which she sarcastically thanked people or places, such as the back seat of her boyfriend’s car.

The graph that best sums up Politico, the fake publication… Read more

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

‘You’re A Teenage Girl’: Politico‘s Byers, HuffPost‘s Stein Squabble Over GOP Media Strategy

A Twitter tiff between Politico‘s Dylan Byers and HuffPost‘s Sam Stein started with a blog post that made little sense without spending five minutes to really contemplate it.

Yesterday Byers posted an excerpt from a HuffPost story by Stein, who had interviewed former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman:

“‘In an interview with The Huffington Post, [Jon] Huntsman laid out his vision for the Republican Party going forward….’

“Get it?”

And that was it.

Stein reacted to the post by saying he “always thought it was weird that people think Republicans can’t talk to [HuffPost] and still be conservative.”

With that, Byers’ post starts to make sense. He was suggesting that HuffPost, known as a left-leaning publication, may not be the best platform for a Republican to try influencing the GOP.

“Call a GOP strategist and ask them if [HuffPost] is best place to lay out your vision for GOP,” Byers said to Stein. “Seriously?” Stein replied. “We scored a [Mitt] Romney interview in the primary? We talk to GOP lawmakers all the time, top operatives, officials, etc…”

A former Huntsman communications director says HuffPost is a reasonable place for the GOP to speak out…

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Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

What are you, STUPID?

“Surprised I have to explain this: the President declaring NY+NJ ‘major disasters’ enables those states to expedited federal aid.” — ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper.

Ali Velshi drys out

“OK, got a few hours of sleep & largely dried out. Back on CNN w/ latest from Sandy 7aET” — CNN’s Ali Velshi, who has been receiving widespread concern and criticism for all the time spent in the rising waters of the storm. Today some of his followers appear to be worried for him, asking him when he sleeps and telling him not to tweet while driving.

Deep Thoughts With Nate Silver

“Media reporters are often the very best or very worst journalists at their outfits.” — FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver. To which FakeJimVandeHei RT and CC’d HuffPost‘s Michael Calderone and Politico‘s Dylan Byers.

From the Road…“Campaign life is watching a friend try to walk up to the McDonalds drive thru window at 1 AM. #7 Days” — Politico‘s Juana Summers.

See Journo Hate Mail, and an apology for Sandy mishap… Read more

Politico Talks Sports

Sure, politics and sports go hand in hand. It seems like every week (that they’re actually working), Congress is hauling some baseball player in front of a committee or a football player to talk about head injuries. So, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Politico will be hosting the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell for a conversation about “player health and safety, the fantasy-football explosion, and new technology to enhance the in-stadium experience, including the “Under the Hood” feature we saw debut Sunday on the new Diamond Vision screens at Lambeau Field.” Remember, this is POLITICO we are talking about here. They are the first ones to jump up and say that they stick to politics. Remember what executive editor JimVandeHei said in Michael Calderone‘s profile of Politico for Huffington magazine?

“Right, you guys have about forty sub-channels, you’re in different countries, you’re covering sports, you have pictures and girls and all this stuff that generates a lot of traffic. We do politics. That’s what we do. We do policy. That’s what we do.”

What struck us as even more bizarre is that chief White House correspondent Mike Allen will be leading the conversation. Allen is great at what he does, but we don’t exactly equate him with possessing sheer athleticism or a knowledge of sports. Anyone who knows him will tell you that he eats, sleeps and breathes politics.

Details are listed on the invitation above. It’s worth noting that Goodell’s wife is Jane Skinner, formerly of Fox News.

 

The Big Behind

Talk about being behind.

HuffPost this week writes about how MTV is trying to engage the youth vote with a fantasy election game.

But, as it turns out, it really is the early bird that gets the worm. The hell with the late bird.

The NYT had a story eight months ago about how how MTV dropped the “Choose or Loose” campaign and picked up — yeah, you guessed it –  a fantasy election game. They write, “But its campaign coverage will exist more robustly online, on a Web site that promotes voter registration and that will feature a fantasy election game.”

Correction: We initially had the story by Michael Calderone. The story was not by him but a summer intern. The confusion surfaced in a tweet sent by Calderone. His stories have bylines; other HuffPost medias inexplicably sometimes do not. Apologies to Calderone for the mix-up.

Politico’s VandeHei Won’t Talk to Own Reporter

Politico received a series of lashings from several publications after Executive Editor Jim VandeHei and Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen ran a story criticizing perceived election news bias in WaPo and the NYT.

Dylan Byers, Politico‘s media reporter, wrote a post summarizing the whole thing. And it wasn’t vanilla. He laid out the criticisms, most of which were rather harsh against Politico, even writing about how Politico aggregated the work of the WaPo story VandeHei and Allen found to be biased.

“Allegations such as this led to a wave of criticism from outlets ranging from Talking Points Memo to GQ to the Washington Post’s media blog, as well as stern rebuttals from editors at both the Post and the Times.”

Byers requested comment from VandeHei, his boss, and Allen. Both declined (maybe they worried he’d twist their words?)… Read more

Brokaw Blasts Nerd Prom, More Journos Follow

On Sunday’s “Meet the Press”, Tom Brokaw was analyzing the Presidential race of 2012 when he took a sharp turn into Curmudgeon-ville to take major swipes at Nerd Prom. He is not pleased about the glittering of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with stars like George Clooney and Charlize Theron. Some people may argue that at last those stars are politically active and aware of what’s going on the world. The same can’t be said for the likes of Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan.

In any event, reaction started pouring in over Twitter as Brokaw’s comments went viral. WSJ’s Neil King welcomed Brokaw’s comments by saying, “Here’s seconding Brokaw’s takedown of the WH Correspondents Dinner. And here’s predicting the day when POTUS says thanks but no thanks.” Longtime Washington political journo and columnist for the Dallas Morning News Carl Leubsdorf told FBDC, “I think he spoke for many of us.” He went on to say, “Tom is spot on. And as the dinner has become glitzier, fewer seats have gone to actual correspondents and more to corporate executives, advertisers and celebrities. The upcoming 100th WHCA anniversary in 2014 might be a perfect time to consider this, though I’m not too hopeful that will happen.” Something that got the attention of HuffPost’s Michael Calderone was Brokaw’s mention of “taking over the Italian embassy.” It just so happens that was the location of the blowout MSNBC after-party. National Correspondent for The Atlantic, James Fallows also agreed with Brokaw, saying, “Good for Tom B!”

Brokaw is one in a procession of Washington journalists who are trashing what the dinner has become. Late last week we reported on U.S. News & World Report’s Susan Milligan,
who also believes celebs ruin the image of the event. Some may also recall WaPo Dana Milbank‘s take on Nerd Prom last April, in which he says journalists have turned themselves into pimps for the politicians and the stars. He intimated that he grew sickened as he started to RSVP for parties and “made other plans for the weekend.” But Brokaw’s blast is a little bit different. First, he has the highest profile of anyone who has criticized the dinner. Second, he doesn’t seem to differentiate between George Clooney and Lindsay Lohan. He wants Hollywood out of the dinner.

It’s interesting to note that while Twitter was having a field day with Brokaw’s comments, neither Betsy Fischer, Exec. Producer for “Meet the Press”, nor host David Gregory made any comments. Watch Brokaw’s comments in the video below.

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