The news that the people on the "inside loop" read

There’s the musician’s musician…A musician that is so out there and daring that everyone turns to them in awe. There’s a comedian’s comedian…Someone so good that they make the people who are paid to be funny laugh. What’s the news that the politicians read/watch? The movers and the shakers, who do they look to be on the cutting edge even ahead of them? I’ve heard varying reports that Politico is the go-to publication for the Washington insider crowd and I assume the Washington Post is really well respected to, but I have no idea what an actual answer is.


Knew it.

When I was in advertising, we had a client whose primary target was “inside the Beltway” decision-makers – members of Congress (particularly those who served on the Agriculture subcommittee), and their staffers who specifically focused on ag issues.

We tended to buy ad space on WTOP Radio, in the Roll Call newspaper, and on the Sunday-morning talk shows (Meet the Press, Face the Nation, etc.). We also secured a sponsorship deal for our client with what was then called The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (now called PBS NewsHour). All of these were specifically selected because they had been shown to have very strong reach with our client’s target.

Roughly how long ago was that? I knew when I was in Washington this summer I saw a lot of Roll Call, Post, and Politico newspapers (Roll Call and Politico are free IIRC), but who knows how things have shifted since you left (especially if you left pre-internet journalism).


Roughly 2003 - 2009, so certainly before Politico became as big as it is now, at least.

Many moons ago I was a writer for one of those ‘inside loop’ pubs. We summarized - three times per day 7AM, 9:30AM 1PM - all the political news fit to print.

7AM - World and economic news
9:30AM - campaign and race news
1PM White house and congressional news

Cost per year for access: $18,000

We had hundreds of subscribers, maybe a few thousand. We also had specialty pubs put together for each chamber of congress and one for the exclusive use of the White House. Those went for around $100K each.

For publicly available periodicals?

Yeah, politico is read. But Roll Call and The Hill are better thought of. So it National Journal’s Hotline.

And everyone reads The Washington Post and listens to NPR.

Roll Call is the “free” arm of Congressional Quarterly. Which is free if you work on the Hill but costs a small mint for laypeople (several hundred bucks a year for a sub, I believe).

If you worked as a political analyst or other “inside loop” job it might be worth the few hundred but your average guy reading Politico ain’t gonna read it.

I read Political Wire which is an excellent collection of political stories from around the country and many different sources.

I always just assumed they read the AP, since they may have to copy them anyways.

If you’re Rand Paul, Wikipedia.

While we’re on the subject, what does everyone think of Al Jazeera America? I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about them and they really taught themselves as in-depth and fact based but I haven’t checked them out too much myself.

I haven’t seen it (not sure if we even get it). I’ve seen their short format news show – I think PBS was running a 1 hour show – and like it for what it was. I do read their news site but mainly when something big is going on in the Middle East and not day to day.

Who has?

My cable company (Time Warner) used to carry Current, the channel that Al Jazeera bought out to serve a starting base of subscribers. Apparently Al Jazeera sounded weird and scary and terroristy because they decided not to make it available after Current went away. Nothing replaced it, the channel slot just went away.

I was in a hotel in the DC area for business last month. The cable had the usual domestic news channels but also two foreign-based news channels, NHK World (Japanese) and RT (Russia Today). But not Al Jazeera. I found RT very interesting to watch, Russia definitely has a different world-view than “us” and it was quite clear in their coverage.

I spend about 40% of my time overseas and AJ is my go to news channel when I’m out of the country, most of their correspondents are from the BBC, right down to the weatherman. My biggest criticism is that it focuses a little too heavily on the Middle East (not surprising).

Or, more commonly, to keep those news organizations friendly. ADM has avoided a lot of bad national press over the years by virtue of the payola to the Sunday talk programs. The only people they’re trying to influence is the heads of the news divisions.