When you sell your family’s seven television stations for nearly a billion dollars, I would imagine you feel the need to buy something with the proceeds of the sale. While some might rush out and impulsively buy a Porsche, Robert Allbritton, the publisher of the Washington news publication Politico, however, chose to buy the three-year-old news Web site Capital New York with the hopes of turning it into a Politico type site for New York state.
Allbritton’s television station sale
When Allbritton sold the his family’s television station he said that it was his intention to focus on digital businesses like Politico, clearly he meant it.
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“I have very big ambitions for this publication: to do in New York what we did in Washington with Politico,” Mr. Allbritton said in an e-mail message to Politico staff.
Mr. Allbritton did not disclose how much he spent for Capital New York, but it is not believed to be a large amount of money according to the New York Times.
“I believe powerfully that nonpartisan publications with an intense focus on a specific set of topics can break though quickly, editorially and financially,” Mr. Allbritton said in a statement Monday morning. “I’m excited to take the impressive work Benson and McGeveran did with Capital to the next level.”
Politico as a right-leaning publication
There is some irony to this statement given the criticism of Politico as a right-leaning publication. Not Fox News right, but right of center.
The founders and co-editors of Capital New York, Josh Benson and Tom McGeveran, will continue to oversee the daily operations of CNY. Mr. Allbritton also named Jim VandeHei, Politico’s co-founder and executive editor, to be president of Capital New York. VandeHei, will not move to New York to assume his new position, but rather, will stay in Washington as he believes he can teach “the tricks we have learned about voice, velocity, efficiency and business to the gang leading Capital day to day,” without uprooting his family.
Mr. Benson and Mr. McGeveran on announcing the sale to its readers said it will allow them to “be much more ambitious than ever before about our editorial mission, which is to be a primary source of reporting for knowledgeable readers on the workings of the greatest city in the world.”
One can only guess they were referring to New York City rather the capital of New York, Albany.