The New Republic came out with a great piece on Politico and how it's made itself into a first-rate news org and profitable venture. From "The Scoop Factory" by TNR's

From the start, their aim with Politico
was to combine the Web's rapid-fire capacity with the legitimacy of
traditional newspapering. Journalistically, their strategy was to
out-report and outpace the newspapers that dominated election coverage,
to get links up before readers reached their desks and BlackBerries in
the morning, and to keep the news items going all afternoon for the
prime-time cable pundits to digest at night.

And it worked. Politico
succeeded in muscling its way into the political journalism firmament
by the sheer volume of reporting and a shrewd–some might say
obsessive–focus on the gossipy Beltway scoops and gaffes that appeal
to the tabloid sensibility of Drudge and cable news.

It's true. Politico rates above WaPo on my radar because not only do they seem todo better reporting but also they do better storytelling. They make the news sexier, more voice-y, more fun to read.

What is comical, as Nicholas Carlson over at SAI points out, is how newspaper big wigs have been so quick to dismiss the site even as their own ships crash and flounder on the rocky shores of change:

The Times' Bill Keller dismisses Politico's scooplets
as an insubstantial foundation on which to build a sustainable news
organization. "If you hadn't reminded me, I couldn't have told you who
broke the seven houses and the six-figure wardrobe budget. … Politico
has focused on an inside game. I'm not sure if it translates to an
outside game. I'm not sure how they get scale, and, if they don't, I'm
not sure what the business model is."

I mean, seriously, the man can't be that dumb…Can he? He did, after all, refer to blogging as a "one man circle jerk" during a speech to the newspaper staff my alma mater back in 2005 (I was there, afterwards he did shots with us at the bar).

Bet here's where we see just how serious the folks at Politico really are:

For brand-name reporters, Politico was willing to pay
stratospheric (by journalism standards) salaries. Top writers are
rumored to make between $150,000 and $250,000.

Damn. That's not chicken feed.

The point here is that what we're seeing at work in the news industry is a process of creative destruction, not the end of the world. The local marketplace for information has been replaced by the global marketplace, and as Adam Smith explained way back when, the bigger the market, the more labor gets divided and the more work specialization occurs.

It's just too bad that old institutions have proven themselves so unable and unwilling to evolve.