Environmental matters will not be of high priority for Politico Europe

Welcome, Politico Europe, to the European media landscape.This week is the launch of Politico Europe. It’s an ambitious expansion for Politico, the online (and now print magazine) news provider based in Washington, DC. Politico Europe replaces the European Voice, the paper of record here in Brussels for the last 20 years, with an impressive roster of new hires.

The journalists we’re particularly interested in, understandably, are the environment team.

According to Editor Matthew Kaminski the environmental reporting will be handled by Jan Cienski, Energy and Security Editor, and his team. Going by his title, environment ranks at least third behind energy and security for Mr. Cienski.

This tells us that, at least initially, environmental matters are not going to be much of a priority for Politico Europe. When the environment is covered, my guess is that it will often focus on the role of gas in EU- Russia relations rather than the dozens of other serious environmental issues facing the EU.

But for all that Politico should still be welcomed to Brussels for two reasons:

First, Politico in the US began small and grew very large, very quickly.

No doubt there are plans in place to match that growth here in Brussels if the model works. At the initial announcement of Politico Europe they stressed repeatedly that they thrive by inundating a particular field with journalists and dominating every possible angle (they have five tech reporters on staff already).

I fervently hope they get to the stage when they can do the same with environmental issues so that issues like wildlife crime get the attention they deserve.

Second, the arrival of this well-funded new venture (it’s a joint project with Germany’s Axel Springer) has already changed the Brussels media scene and will continue to do so.

In recent months we’ve seen EUObserver.com launch a subscription service, Parliament Magazine have launched PM+ and EurActiv are in the midst of a website relaunch. What we don’t know is if these business strategy changes will be matched with content changes.

If Politico is going to dominate individual topics, it might lead some of the more established outlets to try and establish their own specialization, either directly confronting Politico Europe or ceding areas like tech to focus on undisputed topics like… the environment!

So welcome, Politico Europe, we’re looking forward to getting to know you.

--AH

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