Politico CEO will know ‘within 18 months’ whether Capital is on right track

Bloomberg Businessweek

Politico’s relaunch of Capital, the New York publication it purchased earlier this year, will test the Arlington, Va.-based publication’s model in a much different media market, Felix Gillette writes. “I do think the incrementalism that has helped make their coverage a must-read on the BlackBerrys of Washington may not help them as much on the iPhones of New York,” New York Times media reporter David Carr tells Gillette.

Capital’s strategy involves three subscription-only “Pro” verticals. It will “face similar pressure to perform” as TBD.com, a free publication Politico owner Robert Allbritton “quickly pulled the plug” on, Gillette notes. “Within 18 months we’ll know whether or not this is on a trajectory to being successful and scalable,” Politico CEO Jim VandeHei tells him.

I worked at TBD before Poynter; for what it’s worth, we were told we had “three to five years” to get off the ground. We made a lot of mistakes at TBD, and I’m still nagged by the feeling our decision to not follow Politico’s style in referring to itself in capital letters may have been one of them. (My feeling at the time, and now, is that only GWAR should be cast thus.)

I noticed today that Capital referred to Politico in all-caps in its profile of Time Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs. Reached by email, Capital co-editor Tom McGeveran said his publication changed to Politico’s style after being acquired: “We voluntarily added this exception to our style sheet because it doesn’t quite seem right that our parent company doesn’t get to determine how its name is styled on the site,” he wrote.

Capital casts BuzzFeed and SoHo without intercaps, McGeveran noted, and began casting the names of Apple products with a lowercase “i” only because “people would write in telling us we had ‘typos.’”

Capital is “in the process of revisiting using italics for newspaper and magazine titles,” he adds. “On a digital only site it feels like a lot of work for not much purpose.”

Previously: Capital editor: ‘I’m not going to sleep for the next couple of years’

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