October 30, 2015

Garrett Graff, the editor of POLITICO Magazine, is leaving the publication less than a year after he took the job, according to a staff announcement from POLITICO Editor Susan Glasser and Executive Editor Peter Canellos.

Graff, the former editor of Washingtonian magazine, will be succeeded in the interim by Steve Heuser, who oversaw the launch of POLITICO’s policy magazine The Agenda.

In an email to Poynter, Graff said the decision to leave the magazine was his and precedes a move to Vermont “to begin a new chapter.” When asked whether he plans to run for political office in his home state, Graff said he’ll “have more to say in a few weeks.” He tweeted about the decision to leave POLITICO shortly after the announcement went out:

Graff’s departure comes as POLITICO prepares to “expand and enhance” the ideas and magazine division of its operation, per Glasser and Canellos. Heuser will combine the staffs of The Agenda and POLITICO Magazine and hire additional editors:

As we celebrate the magazine’s second anniversary today, it’s clear that the kind of sharp, ideas-driven reporting and insight offered by the magazine and the Agenda have become a pillar of Politico’s journalism, a hit with audiences and a huge area of potential future growth.

The magazine, which has recently drawn staffers including Michael Kruse and Bill Duryea of the Tampa Bay Times, was launched in November 2013. This year, it was a finalist for a National Magazine Award.

Here’s the memo:

Good morning and congratulations to all on an extraordinary October, with great coverage of a newsy Washington month to remember, from the tumult-filled election of a new Speaker of the House to major shakeouts in both parties’ presidential campaigns. When the dust settles, it will be our biggest month of the year for audience — part of a growth surge in recent months that has us 75 percent ahead in page views from last fall.

And here’s some more news from Politico Magazine: Garrett Graff, who’s done a star turn as the magazine’s editor this year, has decided to put editing aside and leave Washington, returning to his home state of Vermont to pursue other ventures. Garrett has been both an absolute pleasure to work with and a force for good here at Politico, and we all wish him the best. He’s helped the magazine continue to grow and shine through its second year — as you can see from the terrific Campaign special issue out in print today (that Hillary Clinton cover is a Politico original, shot by the legendary David Hume Kennerly for us).

We are delighted to announce that Steve Heuser, who has so ably launched The Agenda, our sharp new policy magazine, earlier this year, will become editor of both The Agenda and Politico Magazine on an interim basis. This promotion reflects our deep confidence in Steve, who has quickly established himself here as an entrepreneur and newsroom leader with terrific editing skills. Steve came to us a year ago from the Boston Globe, where he edited the newspaper’s weekly Ideas section and before that led its Pulitzer Prize-winning science team, and he’s excited to work closely with creative director Janet Michaud, newly promoted deputy editors Elizabeth Ralph and Margy Slattery, national editor Michael Hirsh and the rest of the award-winning magazine team.

The move also reflects the first step of our plan to expand and enhance what we see as an entire ideas and magazine division of our newsroom. To that end, Steve has our mandate to unite the staffs of the magazine and The Agenda (and what firepower he has there, with terrific writers like Michael Grunwald and Darren Samuelsohn); hire additional editors; and work on conceiving new projects for 2016. Bill Duryea, our great enterprise editor, will also join this team, and as part of his portfolio will take on leadership of our What Works series. Michael Kruse, the other half of our terrific Tampa duo, will officially hang his trademark hat with the mag team as well — he’s already a star writer for it, as his print piece out today on Jeb and Hillary and 1994 shows. Luiza Savage, our events editorial director, will caucus with this enhanced staff too, brainstorming more great ideasy events and video projects, like the mini-docs she’s been leading on urban innovators. As we celebrate the magazine’s second anniversary today, it’s clear that the kind of sharp, ideas-driven reporting and insight offered by the magazine and the Agenda have become a pillar of Politico’s journalism, a hit with audiences and a huge area of potential future growth.

Please join us in congratulating them all — and wishing Garrett well! We’ll have cupcakes in the newsroom at 3 pm today to celebrate this team and their latest stellar issue.

Susan Peter

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
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