How D.C. Is Giving the New York Media Industry a Run for Its Money

6:30 AM PST 04/17/2014 by Will Lee
From left: Jim VandeHei, David Bradley and Ezra Klein

Politico, Atlantic Media and Ezra Klein's new site are drawing buzz (and mega-clicks).

This story first appeared in the May 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Vox Media: Ezra Klein, the geeky guy with the wonky eyewear on MSNBC (that narrows it!), has been given a site all his own. It's Vox.com, with the humble ambition of reimagining how news is conveyed online -- or, as CEO Jim Bankoff puts it, "engaging audiences [with] new palates, new people and new practices." Like the other sites within Vox's guy-centric empire -- SB Nation (sports), The Verge (tech) and Polygon (gaming) -- Klein's runs on elegant visuals, high-velocity posting and lots of video. It's a winning formula: Vox's sites are among the fastest-growing news and information destinations.

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Atlantic Media: Its transformation from a sleepy clutch of news magazines (The AtlanticNational Journal) into a digital powerhouse (The Wire, Quartz) with 13.6 million unique visitors in February often is credited to former president Justin Smith, who became CEO of Bloomberg Media Group in July. But owner David Bradley deserves credit, too: He moved The Atlantic from Boston to D.C. in 2005. Bradley believes New York's media can learn a lot from the Beltway but isn't revealing any secrets. "I want to make sure that whatever Atlantic Media has learned in Washington, New York media is slow to figure out," he says.

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Politico: When the all-things-politics website was launched in 2007 (by two former Washington Post editors), it revolutionized the way junkies got their fix. It has been so successful that it boasted 6.7 million unique visitors in February, according to comScore, and is expanding, acquiring Capital New York, a news site that emphasizes the Manhattan media beat. Sending 25 staffers into territory long controlled by the New York dailies is a bold move for CEO Jim VandeHei, but he is confident his troops can handle it. "We have a unique breed of reporters," he says. "They work harder, work smarter and break more news."

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