Live from POLITICO
The index finger sweeps across the sheet, and a page is turned. This used to be the only indication that someone was reading. Today, a page-turner has a growing competitor, click. Journalism is sailing from print to digital and Politico is on board.
Seung Min Kim (BS ‘07) grew up reading the Washington Post and The New York Times, always having an interest in news and politics. Kim, who double majored in journalism and political science, gained experience at The Daily Iowan, Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey, and USA Today’s Washington, D.C. Bureau before making the jump to Politico, where, today, she is a congressional reporter.
Speed keeps Politico a strong contender in the journalism industry, and Kim appreciates the hustle. She says Politico was “credited, or in some cases blamed,” for their ability to cover news fast. Instead of reporting on something and not being able to read about it until the morning newspaper, reporters write quick blog posts and smaller news bits throughout the day. Kim says the websites are Politico’s main focus. Twitter can be overwhelming if you’re not ready for what pops up—every refresh of the page can amount to hundreds of new updates. Kim agrees with this way of getting news out to people because they can be informed further and faster.
Standing in the hallways of the U.S. Capitol, Kim approaches senators to get information about relevant news stories. She asks questions, pulls out her phone, emails the information, checks Twitter for story updates, and asks more questions. She’s getting answers from the source, receiving updates on Twitter, and communicating the information all in a short amount of time. She also completes research on her phone right in the capitol hallways for other news stories at the same time.
Bringing the Pieces Together
Being an editor is no longer tied to just print. Kristen East (BA ’15), the assistant web editor at Politico, is responsible for producing and organizing projects, placing stories on the homepage, creating and overhauling comprehensive how-to guides, and playing a critical role in organizing and producing new platforms. East’s editor and Politico’s homepage editor, Diana D’Abruzzo, describes East as an invaluable member at Politico.
“Kristen keeps us all organized, handles the big projects that come our way, and steps in to help whenever needed,” D’Abruzzo says. “It’s so important for journalists today to be versatile and flexible, and she masters those qualities.” Being flexible and ready to take on many tasks is why East is always by her computer. Her desktop computer is essential to her work and when she’s away from the computer, her phone stands in.
“I wouldn’t even call it ‘digital journalism’ anymore,” Kristen East said. “It’s just journalism.”
East says all successful projects and stories stem from a good idea. From there, communication must be maintained for all of the pieces to come together to make something publish-worthy. “Web editors have to communicate with all other editors,” she says. Although East doesn’t coordinate Politico’s social media any longer, she still uses it to promote Politico’s big stories and projects she’s involved in. East emphasizes the importance of not only knowing how to run social media platforms but how to write for them.
“It’s easy to send a tweet, but the difficulty is getting someone to actually click it and read the story,” she said. “This is the biggest part of journalism today.” Whether it was a perfect accident or goal to begin with, both Kim and East feel grateful to be working at Politico. They represent what journalism today is all about.