News & Politics

Politico Reporters Are Ruining Rosslyn

Political operatives: Do. Not. Relax. Nowhere in the neighborhood is safe.

If these chairs could talk, someone would probably be listening in. Photograph by Andrew Beaujon.

A plague has descended on Rosslyn: Politico reporters eating lunch. “You have to be careful about what you talk about in public, especially if your work focuses on sensitive things like heavy opposition research,” Rosslyn-based Republican digital strategist Liz Mair tells National Journal‘s Emily Schultheis. “It’s very, very easy to be sitting with your back to the salad bar in the cafeteria in 1100 Wilson and never even clock that someone from Politico is right behind you, adding croutons to their plate and getting dirt you really don’t want them to have right then, because your entire conversation is audible.”

Politico shares an address with its former corporate siblings WJLA-TV and NewsChannel 8*. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe‘s campaign also warned employees about getting loose-lippy around the Arlington nabe, Schultheis reports: Aides told “staffers at meetings that they needed to keep quiet at the Starbucks or Chipotle for fear of accidentally giving a reporter an unintended scoop.” (Politico staffers may wish to adopt a similar stance of caution when the Washington Free Beacon, which covers Politico, moves into that same building this spring.)

I tried to find evidence of a Politico staffer actually picking up valuable intel in the neighborhood. A Politico spokesperson reminded me that many of the publication’s reporters work on Capitol Hill most of the time. Another employee who wished to remain anonymous–probably so he could keep eavesdropping on his neighbors–said much the same thing: “Your chances of that happening on the Hill are much higher.”

* I was employed by the parent company of all these operations from 2010-2012 and very much enjoyed working in Rosslyn.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.