News & Politics

Politico Publisher Buys New York News Site

Flush with cash after selling off his television stations, Robert Allbritton is buying Capital New York and plans to remake it in Politico's image.

Local media baron Robert Allbritton shucked off his company’s television stations back in July to make way for further expansion of Politico and to possibly find other new ventures. He’s found his first: Capital New York, a news website covering New York City and New York State politics.

Allbritton announced the purchase this morning and said in a press release that he plans to remake the three-year-old site in Politico’s image. “I have very big ambitions for Capital: to do in New York what we did in Washington with Politico,” he said.

Capital New York, which sold for an undisclosed price, was launched in 2010 by New York Observer editors Josh Benson and Tom McGeveran. The site built up a niche reputation as a depository for breaking news and investigative work around the five boroughs and up in the state capital of Albany.

Allbritton will run Capital New York as a separate entity from Politico, but the flagship website’s influence will be seen immediately at the new acquisition. Politico co-founder and executive editor Jim VandeHei will take over as president of Capital New York, while still overseeing things at Politico, while several people on Politico’s business side will work on growing Capital’s footprint.

Allbritton Communications has money to spend after spinning off its seven-station television group—which included WJLA and News Channel 8 in Washington—for $985 million to Sinclair Broadcast Group. Capital New York’s editorial staff is also set to grow with Allbritton’s takeover. It currently has a full-time newsroom of eight, but Allbritton’s press release says the relaunched publication will take on two dozen more employees in the next several weeks.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.