How the Sausage is Made

Apparently, Politico hating is now all the rage. Don’t forget you felt the hate here first. Anyway, an internal memo outlining the institutional formula referenced in Gabriel Sherman’s piece on the publication is now available on TNR. Some snippets:

Stories need to be both interesting and illuminating–we don’t have the luxury of running stories folks won’t click on or spend several minutes with in the paper.
a) Would this be a “most e-mailed” story?

b) Would I read this story if I hadn’t written it?

c) Would my mother read this story?

d) Will a blogger be inspired to post on this story?

e) Might an investor buy or sell a stock based on this story?

f) Would a specialist learn something from this story?

g) Will my competitors be forced to follow this?

IN MOST CASES, THE ANSWER WILL BE “YES” TO SEVERAL OF THESE QUESTIONS IF THIS IS A STRONG POLITICO STORY. If you are not certain that several of these are “yes,” you can reframe your reporting and analysis so people will say, “POLITICO is reporting…” or “The way POLITICO put it is…”

If your friends or source are buzzing about something related in any way to public affairs, don’t ask yourself WHETHER it’s a Politico story. Ask yourself HOW you can make it a Politico story, to capture built-in traffic and mindshare.

There you have it — how the sausage is made.

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One Response to “How the Sausage is Made”

  1. mark senak Says:

    what an excellent characterization of michael steele. herb. love it.


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