John Harris, editor in chief and cofounder of Politico, sent out the following announcement to the staff on Monday:
Three years ago, with our expansion to Europe and a half-dozen important states, POLITICO set out to answer a question: Could we take this brand, so pervasive in Washington, and create similar editorial impact and business success in new arenas far from our original turf?
The answer—an emphatic yes—came after a lot of hard and creative work by colleagues who now stretch across nine time zones. This success invites a new question: Where next?From our most engaged readers and clients and from within our newsroom, we have been hearing a consistent answer: POLITICO needs to be in Asia. In particular, we need to focus our distinctive brand of journalism on the intersection of the United States and China—a relationship that is constantly, and increasingly, shaping events around the world in ways both obvious and obscure.This is the context for an important announcement today: POLITICO is launching a content-sharing partnership with the South China Morning Post, the English-language daily based in Hong Kong.We invite the newsroom to join us in Camp David at 12 pm tomorrow to learn more, but let us get started here.Our company’s vision, as articulated by Robert Allbritton and CEO Patrick Steel, is for POLITICO to have a presence any place in the world where there is an opportunity to grow the business by informing political and policy professionals with great journalism and policy tools.The SCMP partnership fits squarely within that vision, and is a first step in what we are conceiving as a series of vigorous editorial and business moves in the months ahead focused on strengthening our coverage of policy issues in China of most relevance to our main site readers and, especially, to our Pro subscribers.The first efforts of this push will be on display this week with a volley of China-related stories produced by our newsroom—several of which will also run in the South China Morning Post—as well as some SCMP coverage we will share with POLITICO readers.SCMP is the oldest newspaper in Asia, and remains the only independent English-language publication in the region. Today, under new leadership, SCMP has begun robust investment in its reporting staff and digital innovation to grow its audience and impact of that journalism. It has set itself a mission of illuminating events in Greater China with a 350-person strong newsroom, including about 40 in the mainland. The SCMP team reports conscientiously, often bravely in the face of many obstacles to the free flow of information, to produce stories that are fair, skeptical, and independent.Over several months of extensive discussions in Washington, DC and Hong Kong between POLITICO and SCMP newsroom leaders, it is clear to us how deep their understanding of many issues is, and how much our own readers can benefit from their expertise. SCMP leaders also expect their readers will benefit from our authority on U.S. politics and policy.The idea for a partnership with SCMP grew out of conversations almost a year ago between Robert Allbritton and Gary Liu, an American who previously held leadership positions at Digg and Spotify and since late 2016 has been chief executive of SCMP. Those conversations suggested that POLITICO and SCMP are two publications with very different histories yet share a common ambition to tell important stories and connect growing audiences around the globe.This partnership reflects the particular interests and circumstances of two strongly independent publications. In short, this is a partnership that does not impose demands or restrictions on either side but does promise abundant opportunities. As such, editors in both newsrooms will choose mutually to run stories from the partner when this makes sense but are not obligated to do so.We have asked Marty Kady, the editorial director of POLITICO Pro, to take the editorial lead in coordinating the SCMP relationship and he is already plunging vigorously into this task.We can expect today’s announcement to be one of many we will be making about new arenas for POLITICO in the next couple months. Our journalism and our business are soaring, and people around the world are taking notice.