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Posts Tagged ‘Taylor West’

NJ‘s Ron Fournier Wants you ‘Equipped for the Dinner Party’

Who is National Journal‘s biggest competitor?

“Myself,” replied Editor-in-Chief Ron Fournier this afternoon to a question posed within a small gaggle of media reporters convened in the Watergate office’s Shenandoah boardroom. “The only thing I worry about is if I’m up for the job. We really don’t see any one publication as a competitor.” He remarked that his “friend,” Politico‘s Editor-in-Chief John Harris, is building his own niche as are his “friends” at Bloomberg. But soon, Fournier blatantly employed Politico‘s own catch phrase: “I want to win the morning, every evening, and the year. We’re going to out-think everyone. But why can’t you have fun doing it? Why does it have to be a nasty fight?”

Competition. What competition? “No one is doing what we’re doing, or doing it better, insisted Fournier. “…We’ve found ourselves a distinctive spot.” By  the end of the week,  he added, “We’ll have you equipped for the dinner party.”

National Journal stayed up into the wee hours of Sunday morning putting the final touches on the launch of its new web site this morning, with some employees pulling an all nighter to get the job done. No matter that he stayed up late, he says. Fournier will take Friday off to spend time with family. The afternoon gaggle included Yahoo! News’s Michael Calderone, Mediaite‘s D.C. part-timer Nisha Chittal, and New York Observer‘s Nick Summers, who recently left Newsweek for his new job writing a weekly 1,000-word media column. The PR team, which includes The Atlantic‘s V.P. of Corporate and Strategic Communications Linda Douglass and Taylor West was present, but mostly stayed mum.

Upon shaking hands with Calderone, Fournier said, “Michael hasn’t always done what I wanted him to, but he’s always fair and thorough.” Calderone smiled in response.

During the overview, Fournier spoke thoughtfully and in a medium-volume voice.  “We seek to break news,” he said. “We don’t cede anything to anyone.” He said the newsroom will be supportive, not backbiting. Reporters will work hard and have traditional individual beats over which they will hold expertise. “We really think there is a market for serious journalism. Let the others race to the bottom. And son of a gun, there are people paying a lot of money for it in this town.”

Fournier management style appears easygoing but dogged. He said he wants his reporters working harder than they’ve ever worked, but wants them happy doing it. “‘Let’s work our butts off,’” he said he told his team today. “I worked for bosses at the AP who made me work hard not because they scared the crap out of me, but because they made me feel like I was a part of something bigger.”

When reporters do well, he plans to highlight it. And when they don’t? He plans to pull them aside and say, “That’s just not how we do things here.”

> Update: Read Yahoo! News’s Calderone’s take on today’s meeting as well as Chittal’s story.

Huffington’s Backyard Book Bash

National Journal’s Matt Cooper hides from the paparazzi behind one of Arianna’s book-themed pillows. 

Arianna Huffington made a splash last night at the home of Tammy Haddad.  Guests such as actress Geena Davis, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Rep. Dennis Kucnich and wife Elizabeth, Richard Wolffe, Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski, White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, Hilary Rosen and  MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan flooded Haddad’s Foxhall backyard to toast Huffington’s new book, “Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning The Middle Class and Betraying The American Dream.” 

The event, which Huffington joked was like an “Obama backyard party” played host to hundreds of the city’s political and media set who mingled over cocktails in the brisk fall weather.  One of the most popular topics of conversation was Howie Kurtz‘s recent announcement that he will leave the Washington Post for a new gig at the Daily Beast.  Several guests agreed that Yahoo’s Michael Calderone seemed like the only viable option to replace WaPo’s longtime media beat writer. 

We caught up with Calderone who admitted that he wouldn’t spill to Fishbowl if he was in talks with the Post but joked that, “Marcus [Brauchli] hasn’t even returned my calls about Kurtz leaving so it’s safe to assume that he hasn’t pursued me to replace him.” 

Also spotted at the backyard book bash were HuffPost’s Peter Cherukuri, Sam Stein and Mario Ruiz, Qorvis’ Kelley McCormick, SKDKnickerbocker’s Emily Lenzner, National Journal’s Matt Cooper and Taylor West, Janet Donovan, Tim Burger, Bloomberg’s Ha Chan, Politico’s Kiki Ryan, NYT’s Jeff Zeleny, Daily Beast’s Kirsten Powers and Dr. Marty Makary, Pamela’s Punch blogger Pamela Sorensen, ABC’sPolson Kanneth, Jim Courtovich, CBS’s Christine Delargy and The Hill’s Emily Goodin.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Arianna Huffington. 

Geena Davis, Michael Calderone and more after the jump. 

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NJ Hires Fox News Producer

Linda Douglass, V.P. of Atlantic Media Company, sent out a memo this morning to NJ staff to share news of a new hire.

Emma Haberl joins NJ as an editorial booker. She comes to NJ from Fox News, where she was a producer. She’ll work with Douglass as well as Taylor West, the new communications director, who starts Monday. Haberl begins on Aug. 30.

See internal memo after the jump…

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NJ Brings On Comm Director


Taylor West joins National Journal Group as the new communications director.

She’ll handle media relations for all NJ publications, including National Journal, The Hotline, Congress Daily, the Almanac of American Politics, National Journal LIVE and Global Security Newswire.

Her past: West comes from New Partners, Inc., a Washington-based public affairs consulting firm. She represented a wide range of clients. She was communications director on the 2008 Senate campaign of Mark Udall (D-Colo.), then a House member. She was also spokeswoman for Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) 2007 Iowa Caucus campaign.

West begins on August 9.