Politico’s Rachel Van Dongen leaves for The Washington Post

Politico deputy managing editor Rachel Van Dongen is leaving for The Washington Post, where she’ll “lead a new initiative for the National desk,” The Washington Post announced Thursday.

Van Dongen left the Post to join Politico in 2011 as the news organization was staffing up to cover the 2012 campaign. At Politico, Van Dongen coordinated coverage for some of Washington’s biggest stories, according to the Post, including “the government shutdown, the debt ceiling wars, sequestration and other episodes of Congressional drama.”

In her previous stint at The Post, Van Dongen oversaw The Fix and Post Politics blogs, according to the announcement.

Van Dongen’s is one of several senior-level editors that have left Politico in advance of the 2016 presidential election. Deputy managing editors Laura McGann, Dianna Heitz and Gregg Birnbaum have all departed within the last eight months, followed in some cases by other Politico journalists. Managing editor Rachel Smolkin also left during that time period.

Politico, meanwhile, has replenished its ranks with several high-profile hires. In February, NPR politics editor Charlie Mahtesian joined; Jack Shafer, formerly a media columnist with Reuters, came aboard in January. Politico also announced the hiring of Marilyn Thompson as deputy editor in January, along with White House editor Maura Reynolds.

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Correction: A previous version of this story identified Rachel Smolkin as a deputy managing editor at Politico. In fact, she was managing editor for news there. Read more


Which news organizations let their reporters swear?

NPR standards editor Mark Memmott issued a terse reminder this morning — packaged with a wry headline — to bleep out swear words in their entirety:

If a word needs to be bleeped, no part of it should be heard. We don’t try to give listeners a hint by including a bit of the word’s start or end.

The post, titled “Bleep The Whole @#$%&*! Word,” links out to NPR’s profanity standards, which state that “language that depicts or describes sexual or excretory activities or organs is indecent or profane.” There are some exceptions: If the profanity is newsworthy or aired after 10 p.m., it might be permitted.

With his post, Memmott becomes the third standards referee to raise the issue of profanity in recent weeks. At the end of January, BuzzFeed’s Executive Editor Shani O. Hilton made a splash when she unveiled the outlet’s standards and ethics guide, furthering BuzzFeed’s transition from a freewheeling viral content lab to a more regimented news organization. Most of the rules hew to conventional standards of newsgathering, with an exception in the case of profanity:

We speak the language of the internet — which is often hilarious and often profane. As such, profanity is permitted on BuzzFeed; but see the BuzzFeed Style Guide for more information on how to style it responsibly.

The issue of cursing was also raised at the normally staid grey lady in January by New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan, who wondered whether the paper’s vulgarity policy might be too stringent. Discussing Jonathan Martin’s writearound to avoid the word “shit,” Sullivan asked why the paper would alter a quote in an effort to purge a curse word:

But why, some want to know, must The Times go to such lengths? This is something I’ve considered a few times, and come to the conclusion that sometimes it would be preferable just to spit out the word and be done with it.

She concluded the column by quoting Martin, who suggested readers increasingly expected The Times to deliver on unvarnished, salty language:

“I think in this era, there’s more pressure on The Times to give up the ghost on some of this stuff.” (And I’m quoting him directly, right down to that last word.)

As Salon notes, The New York Times has printed swear words rarely in the past, once when it published the Starr report and once in an issue of T Magazine.

But legacy news organizations aren’t the only ones that have edited out course language. Politico, which got its start in 2007, redacted a litany of swear words in a 2010 article examining the cursing proclivities of politicians. And in January, when New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet called a critic an “asshole” on Facebook, Politico redacted the word in the headline but published it in the story.

Here’s a sampling of some other policies regarding profanity, courtesy the American Society of News Editors:

The Washington Post’s standards and ethics guide tells reporters and editors to avoid “profanities and obscenities unless absolutely necessary”:

In no case shall obscenities be used without the approval of the executive editor or the managing editor or his deputy. See Chapter 5, “Using the Language,” for guidance on particular words or terms that may be sensitive.

The Associated Press’ statement of news values and principles allows profanity in newsworthy cases:

We do not use obscenities, racial epithets or other offensive slurs in stories unless they are part of direct quotations and there is a compelling reason for them.

The New York Times News Blogs and Online Columns guide bars all obscenities:

Contractions, colloquialisms and even slang are, generally speaking, more allowable in blogs than in print. But obscenity and vulgarity are not, and of course unverified assertions of fact, blind pejorative quotes, and other lapses in journalistic standards don’t ever belong in blogs.

The San Jose Mercury News Ethics Policy allows the use of ellipses to cut out cursing:

Simply put: ellipses raise issues of credibility. We will, however, use ellipses to remove profanity from quotations.

Does your newsroom have a policy on cursing? Send me a link and I’ll include it here. Read more

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Career Beat: Teri Hayt named executive director at ASNE

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Dashiell Bennett will be news editor at Bloomberg Markets. Previously, he was news editor at The Atlantic. (@TheStalwart)
  • Kate Bennett will be a gossip columnist at Politico. She is fashion editor at Washingtonian. (Email)
  • Teri Hayt will be executive director of the American Society of News Editors. She is executive editor of GateHouse Media Ohio (Email)
  • Pamela Padilla is now a multimedia journalist for KDEN. Previously, she was Web editor for KXTX. (Media Moves)
  • Chelsea Manning will be a columnist for Guardian U.S. Previously, she was an Army intelligence analyst. (NPR)

Job of the day: Wired is looking for a features editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more


Career Beat: Dorie Greenspan named food columnist at The Washington Post

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Dorie Greenspan is now a food columnist for The Washington Post. She is the author of 11 cookbooks. (Washington Post)
  • Hilary Krieger will be enterprise editor for CNN Politics Digital. Previously, she was deputy White House editor for Politico. Daniella Diaz will join the digital production team at CNN Politics Digital. Previously, she was a Web producer at Politico. (Poynter)
  • Kevin Conroy is now chief strategy and data officer at Univision Communications Inc. Previously, he was president, UIM and enterprise development. (Media Moves)
  • Kate Glassman Bennett will be a gossip columnist at Politico. Previously, she was an editor at Washingtonian. (Fishbowl DC)

Job of the Day: The (Brunswick, Maine) Times Record is looking for a publisher. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) Read more


CNN Politics Digital continues to staff up

CNN Politics Digital continues to siphon talent from Politico, announcing Monday two new hires from the site.

In a memo to staff Monday, CNN Politics Digital Executive Editor Rachel Smolkin announced former Politico deputy White House editor Hilary Krieger will be the outlet’s enterprise editor. In her new job, Krieger will help “shape and edit” enterprise coverage from her colleagues and create a global affairs and national security beat. Daniella Diaz, formerly a Web producer at Politico, will join the digital production team headed up by Politico alum Dianna Heitz.

The two moves are the latest in an exodus from Politico to CNN. In January, The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone reported that Heitz became the sixth Politico journalist to make the move in the last half-year.

In a January memo, Politico CEO Jim VandeHei addressed the issue of staff turnover, explaining that the churn is due in part to Politico’s status as “a talent factory.” Politico, for its part, has made a number of high-level appointments in recent months, adding a new editor in Susan Glasser, a senior politics editor in NPR’s Charlie Mahtesian and a new editor of Politico Magazine in Garrett Graff.

Politico has also brought aboard a recruiter, Katy Theranger, in recent months. Writing for The Washington Post, Erik Wemple noted that Politico’s decision to hire a recruiter was due in part to the outlet’s “annoying yet enviable problem” of producing coveted reporters.

Here’s the memo:


Please join me in welcoming several new folks to our fast-growing digital politics team.

Hilary Krieger will be coming onboard as enterprise editor. She’ll have a dual role — helping Steven Sloan to shape and edit the terrific enterprise coverage coming from Peter Hamby, Maeve Reston, Chris Moody, Stephen Collinson, MJ Lee, Ariane De Vogue, Mark Preston and others, and also carving out a global affairs/national security specialty working with the fabulous Barbara Starr, Elise Labott, Jim Sciutto and Ross Levitt on their scoops and enterprise for digital.

Hilary was the deputy White House editor at Politico, and before that she was a multi-platform editor in The Washington Post’s opinion section. She has a history of following in the path of CNN leaders: Hilary followed Andrew Morse as editor-in-chief of The Cornell Daily Sun and Wolf Blitzer as a Washington correspondent at the Jerusalem Post. She worked there for a decade — first in Israel and then as Washington bureau chief — covering the State Department, the Pentagon and the White House. She starts Feb. 23.

Daniella Diaz will be a key member of Dianna Heitz’s new digital production team. Daniella, who also joins us from Politico after she graduated from University of Texas-Pan American, will be making sure digital stories get the best possible treatment with great photos, headlines, videos and photo galleries. She’ll also work closely with Dianna and Eric Weisbrod to ramp up our already strong presence on social media as we continue to create and innovate. Daniella starts Feb. 24.

Jeremy Diamond, who has been an important member of our team for months as a freelancer, has joined us officially as a breaking news reporter. He is already part of the CNN family, but I wanted to recognize his already-impressive contributions to the team; we’re looking forward to much more from him.

And finally, I wanted to take a moment to thank and congratulate Ashley Killough, who is moving to David Chalian’s unit to cover the Republicans during the 2016 campaign. During a time of dramatic change on the digital politics team, Ashley’s help and professionalism have been invaluable. She was indispensable in guiding me and the rest of the newcomers as we tried to learn our way in a unfamiliar world. Ashley is a co-founder of the new team and will remain an important member even as she embarks on new adventures.

More to come.


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Charlie Mahtesian named senior politics editor at Politico

Charlie Mahtesian, currently politics editor at NPR, is rejoining Politico as the outlet’s senior politics editor, according to a Friday morning staff memo from Politico editor Susan Glasser.

At Politico, Mahtesian will be responsible for supervising Politico’s coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign and help lead the outlet’s editorial team.

Mahtesian was previously national politics editor at Politico before he left in 2013 to coordinate NPR’s online political coverage.

Glasser also announced a number of appointments:

  • Mike Zapler, formerly politics editor at Politico, will be congressional editor.
  • Nahal Toosi, deputy politics editor at Politico, will be a foreign policy and national security reporter there.
  • Tarini Parti will be a money and politics reporter at Politico.

Here’s the memo:

Dear Politicos — Breaking news this morning: Charlie Mahtesian is returning to Politico, to the job for which he was born: senior politics editor. In that role Charlie will oversee our coverage of the 2016 campaign and join our editorial leadership team as in-house expert on just about everything that matters in American politics. Charlie comes back to us after spending the last several years very successfully at NPR, where he has been political editor and deputy Washington Desk chief. A political junkie’s political junkie, Charlie literally wrote the book on this stuff as the three-time editor of the definitive Almanac of American Politics. A Philly native, he also happens to be a lawyer who made the smart decision to return to his first love of journalism, and he comes by his competitive zeal to win on a story from the playing fields (he was a two-sport athlete in college) as well as immersion in the 24-hour news cycle. He’ll start February 24 — and in the meantime I hope you can join us at our 12:15 pm staff meeting today to meet him in person and hear a bit about his theory of the 2016 case.

We’re also pleased to announce that Mike Zapler, politics editor for the last couple years, is becoming our congressional editor. Mike is a terrific politico, a smart and talented editor of copy, and we are very much looking forward to his long-term stewardship of Politico’s best-in-class congressional team, which has been on an incredible tear lately in the hands of Capitol Hill bureau chief John Bresnahan and the super-able help of acting editor Bob King, who will return to his previously scheduled obsession with the Keystone Pipeline, oil prices and all things energy as our great Pro energy editor. Mike has previously served with this Hill team as deputy Congress editor, and because of the role he’s been playing with the politics team should be a great partner and collaborator for Charlie as we cover a robust 2016 cycle that will include not only a very competitive fight for control of the Senate but also features several would-be 2016 presidential candidates running for the White House every day from their Senate platform. At the same time, Mike’s deputy, assistant politics editor Nahal Toosi will make the leap from editing back to her first love of reporting, joining Maura’s team as a foreign policy and national security reporter and working alongside our senior foreign affairs correspondent Michael Crowley. A veteran of the AP in Pakistan (do read her terrific account published last year in Politico Mag of being in Abbottabad the day of the Osama bin Laden raid), Halley is raring to go on her new beat — and even breaking stories on it already as she did with a scoop Thursday about the president’s new, long-delayed National Security Strategy.

In more campaign news, we’re also standing up deputy editor Marilyn Thompson’s new money and politics and investigative team, which looks to be a pretty formidable juggernaut with senior investigative reporter Ken Vogel on the money beat and Josh Gerstein moving over from the White House to spend full-time on his incredible strength as an investigative digger with a specialty in justice and national security issues. Tarini Parti will officially join the team as a money and politics reporter, and Marilyn is also looking to hire a great lobbying reporter as well so let her know if you have any thoughts. Both Charlie and Mike are in the market for editors to work with them on our politics and Congress coverage, and while there are strong candidates, they would also love any ideas or names you can surface.

In the meantime, please join us in congratulating everyone on their new assignments!

Susan & Peter

Read more

Career Beat: Ariel Foxman named editorial director of InStyle and StyleWatch

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Ariel Foxman is now editorial director of InStyle and StyleWatch. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of InStyle. (Time Inc.)
  • Mark Josephson is now vice president and publisher of Midwest Living. Previously, he was chief sales officer at Readers Digest Association. (Email)
  • Pam Coulter is now White House correspondent at CBS Radio News. Previously, she was a correspondent there. (Fishbowl DC)
  • Rachel Israel is now executive vice president at Guardian Labs. Previously, she was executive director of strategic planning at Mindshare. (The Guardian)

Politico is looking for a technology editor. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more


Career Beat: ‘Reveal’ co-founder joins audio tour startup

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Ben Adair is now head of content at Detour. Previously, he co-founded “Reveal.” (Medium)
  • Tim Tunison is now news director for WBAL in Baltimore. Previously, he was assistant news director there. Bill Cummings is now news director for KFSM in Fort Smith. Previously, he was news director for WICU/WSEE in Erie, Pennsylvania. Bari Soash is now news director for WALB in Albany, Georgia. Previously, she was executive producer for WTOL in Toledo. Josh White is now news director for KAIT in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Previously, he was assistant news director at WFIE in Evansville, Indiana. (Rick Gevers)
  • Tracy Alloway will be executive editor at Bloomberg Markets. She is a U.S. financial correspondent for Financial Times. (Politico)

The New York Daily News is looking for a politics reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more


Career Beat: The Economist gets 2 deputy editors

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Tom Standage is now deputy editor at The Economist. Previously, he was digital editor there. Edward Carr is now deputy editor at The Economist. Previously, he was foreign editor there. (@tomstandage)
  • Ross Gagnon is now insights director at Forbes. Previously, he was a senior quantitative analyst for J.D. Power and Associates. (Email)
  • John Judis will be a senior writer at National Journal. Previously, he was a senior editor at The New Republic. (Email)
  • Brendan Banaszak is now director of collaborative news strategy at NPR. Previously, he was a producer there. Lynette Clemetson is now senior director of strategy and content initiatives at NPR. Previously, she was director of editorial initiatives there. John Stefany will be director of strategic projects at NPR. Previously, he was manager of new content projects there. (Poynter)
  • Melinda Henneberger is now a senior writer at Bloomberg Politics. Previously, she wrote about politics and culture for The Washington Post. Jennifer Epstein will be a correspondent for Bloomberg Politics. Previously, she was a White House reporter for Politico. (Capital New York)

Job of the day: The Tampa Bay Times is looking for a business reporter. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more


Career Beat: Julia Ioffe joins The New York Times Magazine

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Julia Ioffe will be a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine. Previously, she was a senior editor of The New Republic. Jaime Fuller is joining New York magazine. She writes for The Fix blog at The Washington Post. Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig will be a staff writer at The New Republic. She is a Ph.D. student at Brown University. (Politico)
  • Betsy Andrews will be editor-at-large at Organic Life. Previously, she was an executive editor of Saveur magazine. Karen Shimizu will be a deputy editor at Organic Life. Previously, she was a senior editor at Saveur magazine. (Fishbowl NY)
  • Eric Engleman is now technology editor at Politico Pro’s Pro Technology. Previously, he was deputy editor there. Tony Romm will be a senior technology reporter at Politico Pro’s Politico Pro Technology. Previously, he was a technology reporter there. (Email)

Job of the day: The Associated Press is looking for a photographer. Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs)

Send Ben your job moves: bmullin@poynter.org Read more


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