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Politico is turning to notable talent from the world of TV news and other high-profile journalists to lead its Playbook newsletter franchise until a new team takes over later in January.
Starting Jan. 1, Politico says it will feature a rotating slate of guest authors for Playbook, beginning with Politico founding editor John Harris on New Year’s Day.
The company says that Meet the Press moderator and NBC News political director Chuck Todd, CNN anchor Don Lemon, and PBS Newshour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor will also take turns as guest Playbook authors in January.
Other journalists scheduled to helm editions of the daily tipsheet next month include the veteran technology journalist, Recode co-founder and New York Times opinion writer Kara Swisher, and Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Eliana Johnson. Additional guest writers and other Politico reporters will also contribute until the new Playbook team takes over. Some contributors, like Lemon, may only write one edition, while others may contribute on multiple days.
Politico’s Playbook newsletter has been led by writers Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer since the summer of 2016 (they took over for Mike Allen, who launched Playbook in 2007 and left to co-found Axios in 2016). Palmer and Sherman announced in October that they would be departing the company at the end of 2020, and handing responsibility for Playbook to new authors. (Disclosure: This reporter previously worked at Politico.)
While there has been some reporting about who could take over Playbook full-time (Axios reported that Politico chief Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza and Washington Post reporter Rachel Bade were in talks to join the Playbook team), a Politico source says that conversations with potential writers remain ongoing and in flux.
Ultimately, Politico expects there to be between 4-6 writers, led by a dedicated senior editor. The company expects to have the new Playbook team locked down in the first few weeks of 2021, and is hoping that its lineup of guest writers will bridge the gap.
“In the next chapter for Politico Playbook, we’re thinking bigger, deeper, and multidimensional,” says Politico editor-in-chief Matt Kaminski. “Playbook can’t just own the Hill or even the White House; the new squad’s mandate will be to own the town. We will aggressively incorporate new ways to enhance and differentiate the experience for the growing community of Playbookers—whether in the newsletters, on your screens, in your AirPods, or at in-person events when it becomes safe to do so again.”
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