Politico makes presence felt on multiple platforms

WASHINGTON: Participating in as many platforms as possible, from print and Web to TV and radio, underpins the success of all news organizations going forward, argued key players at the recently launched publication The Politico.

WASHINGTON: Participating in as many platforms as possible, from print and Web to TV and radio, underpins the success of all news organizations going forward, argued key players at the recently launched publication The Politico.

Politico is a daily Web site and thrice-weekly print title, owned by Albritton Communications, a privately owned publishing company that owns DC-area ABC-affiliate WJLA/NewsChannel8.

Ahead of its January 22 launch, which coincided with President Bush's State of the Union speech that night, Politico's multifaceted promotional effort included viral marketing of TV ads on YouTube and to Congressional staff and "in- side-the-Beltway" reporters, said associate publisher Kenny Day.

"We also dropped 'teaser cards' to every Congressional office so staffers knew we were coming," he said. By leaking the TV spots, which ran on national cable channels, Day added, "People could see our spots before they ran and feel like it was a sneak preview."

Efforts by Qorvis Communications, hired to provide strategic advice and media outreach, inadvertently helped recruit some of Politico's top staff, Day added.

Coverage by FishbowlDC and other blogs of the months-long gestation of the publication also helped create buzz, as did a local ad campaign in subways stations, bus stops, and elsewhere.

Going forward, the health of Politico and news titles in general depends on their "brands" existing on as many different platforms as possible, said Politico editor-in-chief John Harris, who touted its affiliation with local news radio station WTOP, its collaboration with CBS News, and media outreach efforts as overseen by media director Kim Kingsley as examples.

Despite being in a heavily saturated media market, Harris said Politico hopes to "rise to the top of the pile" by providing incisive political coverage, focusing on Capitol Hill, the 2008 Presidential election, and lobbying.

Day said that drawing print advertisers takes time, but thanks in part to the half-a-million unique visitors garnered by the Web site in its first week, online ads rose 250% the second week.

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