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Posts Tagged ‘Ron Brownstein’

D.C. Media Events Can be Nasty Biz

Media event planning can be a dirty business in Washington. In many instances it’s tough to tell who is playing copy cat, but some things are clear: publications are vying to host pointedly similar events and competing for guests and warm bodies to fill their audiences. Getting the events underwritten is no small task. This is also where things can turn sneaky.

We recently reported that Politico was hosting a year out election event to be held the morning of Nov. 1. They sent word via a “Save the Date” note. As it so happens, NJ is hosting a twin gathering on the very same morning. They circulated information about their election preview among D.C.’s community of sponsors and advertisers prior to Politico‘s notice back in March. But word travels fast in Washington — these are some of the same sponsors and advertisers with whom Politico also negotiates.

“Events are definitely a business,” said an industry insider who didn’t want to be quoted by name. “They provide great exposure for media organizations, and they are good opportunities for professionals in D.C. to get in-depth briefings on political and policy issues, but they are also a real contributor to most media companies’ bottom lines.”

NJ‘s election preview event is being underwritten by the National Assoc. of Homebuilders and United Technologies. Yahoo! News is a co-sponsor and the outlet’s journalists will participate in the event. Sessions have been planned. An agenda can be found online. Politico, meanwhile, hasn’t revealed their underwriters, locale or agenda — announcements are expected next week.

To be sure, special outside guests are a hot commodity for these media affairs. Initial email invites from NJ to panelists, ABC’s Amy Walter, CBS’s Bob Schieffer and NBC’s Chuck Todd,  went out the end of July. Still, Politico also secured Todd and Walter, with Todd receiving his invitation from NJ prior to Politico. With Todd and Walter being NJ alums, it’s no shock they’d want them to participate. Just like networks, the dueling event organizers can space them at different times, but the double booking has to be causing some to squirm. Politico‘s other gets: Former Bush Spokesman Ari Fleischer, former White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton, CBS’s Norah O’Donnell and CNN’s Jessica Yellin amid several unknown names from the Des Moines Register, St. Pete Times and Charleston Post Courier.

NJ and Politico are utilizing many of their own reporters and editors for the events, so from a guest’s perspective it comes down to who do you want to hear more? From Politico you’ll see the usual suspects of Executive Editor Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Senior Political Reporter Jonathan Martin. From NJ there’s Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier, Ron Brownstein, Charlie Cook and Matthew Cooper.

Different faces, but the concept is the same. Does Washington really need identical events from sparring publications all on the same morning? And if this all seems more than petty, it is except for the fact that these events are vital in gaining a publication significant exposure, buzz and ultimately revenue.

A source at Politico, who spoke on condition of being nameless, argues their event will be richer in content, offering a nearly identical theme to NJ‘s event and a list of  participants: “Although the topics are similar, and we’re delighted Amy and Chuck can join us, we really feel our event is different: we have panels covering a wider range of topics with a broader group of people on stage. We have had a great response since our invitations went out at the end of September and believe our half-day event will be the place for kicking-off the countdown to November 2012.”

NJ Publicist Taylor West, counters, saying, “The National Journal events team is one of the most respected and successful in Washington because they invest the time, preparation, and thoughtfulness that it takes to put together premier events. Our 2012 Election Preview event is no exception, with a can’t-miss slate of confirmed participants, in-depth sessions on each of the critical parts of the upcoming election cycle, and more exciting guest announcements to come. For folks looking for substance and strategy – not spin – this event will deliver the goods.”

Despite the clawing and infighting involved in executing these events, insiders insist these events are key to a publication’s success or failure.


Are Brownstein’s Loyalties Still Squarely With NJ?

NJ may have just recently teamed up with CBS for the looming presidential election, but its Editorial Director Ron Brownstein will soon be showcasing his talents on ABC and CNN. Is he spreading the wealth or just spreading himself too thin? CNN has him exclusively amongst the cable networks. Brownstein writes a column that will continue to appear in both NJ and LAT.

This all begs the question. Might Brownstein’s role at NJ be diminishing? So far his title has not changed. But his attentions are scattering.

“Nothing is changing with Ron’s role here at all,” NJ Spokeswoman Taylor West told FishbowlDC by email. “He’s just signed exclusive contributor partnerships with ABC for broadcast and CNN for cable. They are both individual arrangements between Ron and the networks that are terrific opportunities for his work and insight to be seen as widely as possible, and obviously good opportunities for National Journal’s profile as well.

“As for NJ as a whole, we are incredibly excited about the partnership we’ve formed with CBS to cover the presidential campaigns. That’s a joint journalistic endeavor involving both newsrooms that we expect to produce very rich, very valuable coverage and insight across all our platforms.

“Different types of partnerships with different outlets aren’t that unusual. We’ve also partnered with MSNBC to put on a GOP primary debate in Florida next spring.”

UPDATE: West had something to add on Brownstein’s abilities. “Anyone who thinks that these partnerships will stretch Ron thin doesn’t know Ron Brownstein. This is a guy who can write a brilliant column, moderate a provocative panel, dig out the most important hidden data from a poll, edit a magazine cover story, and weigh in on the 2012 primary in a television segment…then immediately rattle off the latest Red Sox batting averages. Representing National Journal on ABC and CNN is a win-win for all of us.”

NJ’s Brownstein Gets ABC News Gig

This just in…an announcement from ABC News President Ben Sherwood on NJ Editorial Director Ron Brownstein joining the network’s political team. He will continue to write his column that publishes in NJ and LAT as well as in his role as Editorial Director for NJ.

See the internal memo from Sherwood…

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Party Tonight for a Bunch of Washington Bigwigs, Some Bigger than Others

Tonight the Bipartisan Policy Center hosts a cocktail reception for their new class of senior fellows at the center on Eye Street. The BPC was recently hailed by NJ as “one of Washington’s most attractive destinations for former lawmakers, Cabinet officials and others.” Now we know why…honored tonight will be Sens. Bob Bennett, Byron Dorgan, Bill Frist and Trent Lott, in addition to General Jim Jones (ret.). Remarks are expected from BPC-co-founder and former Sen. Tom Daschle.

Also on the RSVP list are media bigwigs (some bigger than others and some not so big at all, you decide): John Roberts, FOX, Ed Henry, FNC, Peter Baker, NYT, David Jackson, USA Today, Ron Brownstein, NJ, Aaron Lobel, American Abroad Media, Charlie Cook, NJ, Emily Pierce, Roll Call and former CNNer Kathleen Koch.  The BPC recently attracted former MPAA head Dan Glickman, now a BPC Fellow and head of a nutrition & physical activity initiative and former first lady Michelle Obama‘s, Robin Schepper, former executive director of Let’s Move! to join the nutrition project.

NJ’s Internal Love

NJ‘s Digital Editor Dave Beard delivered good news to reporters this week. It showed up in an internal memo in the height of WeinerGate and our attentions were elsewhere. But here it is, complete with the news that NJ is “flexing its muscles as never before for a beyond-the-beltway audience.”

See the internal memo…It’s well-written. You won’t die through it.

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Last Chance: NJ and The Atlantic Host “Home Ownership & The American Dream” Summit

Registration closes today at 3 pm for “Home Ownership and the America Dream,” a Next Economy Summit hosted by National Journal and The Atlantic.  The event will begin with a poll presentation featuring the results of the latest Heartland Monitor Poll on how average Americans are navigating the U.S. economy, especially as it relates to the housing market.  The remaining program will include keynote speakers and a panel discussion—all exploring a central question looming after the crash and market meltdown of 2008: should home ownership continue as the center of the American dream?

NJ’s Ron Brownstein will moderate a panel including  National Association of Home Builders CEO Jerry Howard, Alex Pollock from the American Enterprise Institute, National Fair Housing Alliance President and CEO Shanna Smith, and Sarah Rosen Wartell, EVP of the Center for American Progress.  A keynote address and Q&A with former Secretary Henry Cisneros will follow.

The event will be held on Thursday, March 24, 2011 at the Newseum’s Knight Conference Center from 7.45 AM – 11.30 AM.  To secure your spot, click here before 3pm.

2011: A Yawner in SOTU Watch Parties

Watch parties for the President’s State of the Union address are a tradition in Washington. Everyone is supposed to get together to watch POTUS (and drink) at a local watering hole. Or so we thought.

This year, tradition is broken. No parties, just an avalanche of live-blogging.

The Daily Beast‘s Howard Kurtz will be hosting a “live chat” starting around 8:45, he tweeted last night.

No party for Politico either – instead, they also promise live-blogging. At least Patrick Gavin has compiled a few rules for drinking games.

But what about The Daily Caller, who can always be relied on for a party? They had a great one last year. But this year: “We’ll be working! We’ll be live blogging and reporting,” spokeswoman Becca Glover Watkins said in an e-mail. “No party for us this year because we just did the Capitol Hill party last week.” Fair enough.

HuffPost will be live-blogging as well. The Hill is live-blogging and live-tweeting. TWT live-blogged last year, but there’s nothing on their website to indicate they’ll do it again.

Thank God for NJ. They’re hosting a sold out reception for new members of Congress tonight at the Library of Congress to pre-game the SOTU. From 5-7 p.m., Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) will join Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) to offer insights on the workings of Congress to the newbies.

Tomorrow, Ron Brownstein and Major Garrett (both of NJ), the Atlantic‘s Josh Green, and WaPo‘s Karen Tumulty will be joined by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), as well as Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) to discuss the president’s address. That’s at the Gallup Building at 8 a.m.

And if there wasn’t enough live-blogging going on, don’t worry: NJ will also be blogging, analyzing, and fact-checking its way through the SOTU.

The rest of you: step it up next year, guys.

If none of this appeals to you, though, Professor Ezra Klein to the rescue, as usual. He writes that the State of the Union has only ever really affected poll numbers once. So forget all this live-blogging and instead mourn the fact that Glee is still in repeats.

> Update: Maybe this won’t be so horrible after all. Keith Olbermann will be live-tweeting.

Atlantic and NJ to Debrief SOTU

Three U.S. senators will join a cast of well-known Atlantic and NJ reporters for a post State of the Union Briefing on Wednesday, Jan. 26. A WaPo reporter will also join the panel.

The Senators: Senator Lamar Alexander (TN); Senator Dick Durbin (IL); and Senator Lindsey Graham (SC).

The Reporters: Ron Brownstein, Political Director, NJ; Josh Green, Political Correspondent, The Atlantic; Major Garrett, Congressional Correspondent, NJ; Karen Tumulty, National Political Correspondent, WaPo.

More details…

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NJ Parties Like the Pink Panther

It was Night 4 of NJ‘s flurry of launch parties at the rented space on E St. Thursday night was thought to be the mother of parties so far. The room was packed. So much so, that partygoers periodically slipped out into the cool air when they couldn’t take the crowding. Or, when they hoped to flee the towering wine-drinking man in blue linen who pawed some female guests (he wasn’t with NJ and appeared to be a straggler who wandered in off the street. At least one woman pushed him away).

Guests enjoyed cocktails, fancy hors d’oeuvres and the sounds of a live jazz band. They complained of too few bathrooms and a sweltering indoor temperature.

The dimly-lit warehouse space was enveloped in red velvet curtains. NJ Daily Editor Jason Dick loosely bragged that he had attended party after party and wasn’t tiring of it.”This is how we roll,” he joked. “I take my cues for living from the old Pink Panther movies with the martinis.

“It’s a little bit more fun than I anticipated,” he said, referring to the new web site launch and subsequent parties. “We started this back in February and it was hard to see where it was going. We’re all working as hard as we ever have. There’s a lot more steam in our strides.”

NJ brass did their best to squash talk of a NJ-Politico rivalry. But partygoers chattered about it. “For me, Politico is a start, but I’m not going to get a lot of substance out of it,” said a guest. Others felt the party logo looked too much like Politico. Dick dismissed the so-called feud, saying there much less animosity and more friendship than people know. “I have a lot more friends than enemies at Politico,” he said. He laughed, saying people had tweeted earlier in the week about whether NJ and Politico were going to “meet in a parking lot with knives and guns.”

Fournier said he was “excited” about the launch but just as excited to make it an early night and get home to his wife and child.

Many a journo turned up. Find out who and see more pictures after the jump…

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The new NJ Comes Alive This Morning

At long last NJ launches its new online web site this morning as of 9:25.

To highlight the launch, Editorial Director Ron Brownstein and congressional reporter Major Garrett appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Neither Brownstein nor Garrett got much time to highlight the launch due to the controversial topic at hand: ex-NPR’s and now full-time FNC’s Juan Williams.

“It is always uncomfortable when a commentator is fired for his views,” said Brownstein.

But it was Garrett’s remarks that dominated the segment and hushed the round table: “I may have what you call a unique point of view,” said a slow smiling Garrett, former White House correspondent for Fox News. Garrett just recently moved from FNC to NJ, switching from TV journalism to print. He admitted that while working for FNC, “Some would say, ‘I can’t believe you work at that network. I love you’re work, I just don’t like where you work.’”

Garrett said nothing of whether he agreed or disagreed with the above commentary. Instead he spoke of Williams off-air “warm” relationship with FNC’s Brit Hume. “I know Juan’s in the moment,” he said. “I’m sure he is uncomfortable about this on many levels.”

Take a look at the launch and the new magazine cover below.