Politico made waves in the local media world earlier this year when it hired away Marc Caputo, the Miami Herald's lead political writer, to become its first dedicated staffer covering Florida. But soon Caputo will be joined by an entire new bureau. In an email released today, Politico president and CEO Jim VandeHei announced that the Washington D.C.-based political-centric newspaper and website is aggressively moving into coverage of state politics. Florida is expected to be one of the first that the site tries to conquer.
“Later this year, we will launch POLITICO in Jersey with a mix of free and paid content for the state written by reporters with expertise and experience in the state," reads the email. "Shortly after, we will launch in Florida, hiring a team of political and policy writers in Tallahassee to join Caputo, who’s already killing it down there. We will follow with additional states as quickly as we can."
Caputo's hire was tied in with the possible presidential campaigns of Miami-based Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, but the company's goals rest beyond just Florida-related stories with national impact.
Politico was launched in 2007, and while it also published a weekday newspaper with relatively scant circulation in D.C. and New York, it's mostly known for its news-breaking website.
The move into state politics should certainly serve to shake up the political press pool up in Tallahassee. That scene is currently dominated by the joint bureau operated by the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times and the sometimes-shared operations of other major local dailies. Though, web-based upstart Sunshine State News has already become a digital insurgent. Politico Florida will provide new competition — and quite possibly steal talent — for all.
Interestingly, Politico had previously partnered with the Tampa Bay Times in 2012 to produce special edition for the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Now the two will compete directly against each other for the best stories in Tallahassee.
Niche-focused websites opening local or state-specific verticals appears to be the new normal in written journalism as the power and resources of traditional print newspapers continues to slip away. Sites like the Real Deal South Florida and Curbed Miami already provide more in-depth coverage of the real estate market than the Herald does.
It paints a picture of an interesting and increasingly real future where people no longer read an actual paper or even a website focused on all of Miami news, but rather subscribe to the Twitter feeds of theoretical future (i.e. not really happening, but maybe one day) verticals like Forbes South Florida and Bloomberg Miami for their business news, Art News Miami for their culture happening, Pitchfork Florida for local music info, or Treehugger Florida for environmental affairs.