HuffPost ran an item Monday on a “mini exodus” at its rival, Politico. The item broke the news that media writer Michael Calderone is leaving. HuffPost has also had losses: Larry Roberts, considered a coup of an editorial hire for the Investigative Fund, run separately from HuffPost, quit after a short time to join Bloomberg, and Dan Froomkin, who was hired to run political coverage, went from a management role to reporting after a few months.
A closer look at staff moves at Politico turned up noteworthy details:
• Four people have left in two weeks but were given huge raises to leave. Patrick O’Conner, for instance, was courted for weeks by Bloomberg and nearly doubled his salary in the bidding war.
• WaPo and others are making serious runs at several Politico reporters, too. A Politico reporter tells Fishbowl that Bloomberg sought to hire Carol Lee, Politico’s White House reporter, and failed.
FishbowlDC asked Jim VandeHei, Politico’s executive editor, for comment on the recent loss of reporters. His response: “I think we do a good job of hiring great reporters and teaching them to think smarter, work harder and write sharper. So I am not surprised other news organizations make bids to steal some away. It would be silly for us to get all worked up about it because we have been doing – and will continue to do – the same thing, which is try to lure the best reporters away from our competitors. The truth is, it’s a great time to be a talented reporter in this town. Bloomberg is hiring tons of people; The Washington Post seems to be hiring again and we have more than a dozen openings. Our challenge is finding people who have the right reporting instincts, writing chops and ambition.”
On the HuffPost item that ran Monday, VandeHei said: “We are a competitive threat. Their media writers take shots at us most weeks it seems. It doesn’t take an Investigative Fund to figure out the motivation.”
HuffPost’s Mario Ruiz, V.P. of Media Relations for HuffPost commented to FishbowlDC: “Danny was merely reporting on the fact that four reporters recently left Politico. In fact, we’ve always had a very good relationship with Politico. We often link to their stories and drive a lot of traffic to them; indeed, we get emails from them thanking us for featuring their stories so prominently. As for Dan Froomkin, this was a promotion, since he’s now freed from the managerial responsibilities that were taking him away from his passion: reporting and analysis. And regarding Larry Roberts, The Huffington Post Investigative Fund is an entirely different entity that HuffPost. Larry was replaced as the Fund’s Executive Editor by another senior member of the team, as you can see from Calderone’s story last week.”