News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: John Harris Steps Down at Politico

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Washingtonian Today is not just another political news roundup. Instead, this daily morning brief provides local context on national news, catches you up on what’s happening at Washingtonian, points you toward super duper awesome things to do around town, and lets you in on some special events going on in-house. Sign up here to receive Washingtonian Today in your inbox every morning.

Good Tuesday morning. Marvin Gaye was born at Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington, DC, on this date in 1939. Remember him by cranking his excellent new “lost album,” You’re the Man, which came out Friday.

Politico editor in chief John Harris will step down, Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman and Daniel Lippman write in today’s Playbook, confirming a report last night by Ben Mullin and Lukas Alpert that the company was “discussing a plan to install a new editor in chief.” Palmer et al. write that Harris “is leaving daily management but not [Politico] leadership.” So who gets the top spot? Global editor Matthew Kaminski will take over the Rosslyn newsroom, with Politico editor Carrie Budoff Brown reporting to him, Politico owner Robert Allbritton told staffers in an email this morning:

Matt has proven himself as a leader with tireless ambition and creativity during his four plus years at POLITICO. His collaboration with Carrie in Europe in launching a new publication were integral to our successful growth and expansion overseas. We are looking forward to seeing their partnership in action again to create impact and drive growth across a competitive landscape in media that continues to rapidly change. This is a competition we are going to win.

Harris will remain EIC of Politico Europe and join the Politico board, Allbritton writes. In a note to the newsroom, Harris says “The question of “What’s next?” seems every bit as engaging and even more urgent now than it did twelve years ago” and that Allbritton’s ambition for the publication can be seen in many ventures, including “his recruiting of Tim Grieve—another key person in the early success of POLITICO—to explore opportunities for a new publication that, while separate, will work creatively with all of us.” Dylan Byers previously reported that Grieve had been brought on to launch a tech news site.

More media: Why did the Washington Post yank allegations about 60 Minutes honcho Jeff Fager from an investigation into sexual misconduct at CBS? Irin Carmon, who cowrote that story, shared unflattering details about the reporting and editing process. Carmon says the Post followed a cautious path that had the effect of protecting a powerful man in media, and says Post Executive Editor Martin Baron got tripped up by the intricacies of reporting in the #MeToo era: “I did think it was easier for even the most well-meaning editor to empathize with a newsroom leader, a fellow boss with potentially discontented underlings,” she writes. Through a spokesperson, the Post tells Rebecca Morin that Carmon’s account is “an incomplete story” and says the “suggestion that The Post’s decision-making — made in agreement by five senior editors — was influenced by anything other than established journalistic standards is baseless and reprehensible.” (Those last three words in particular indicate how unamused Post management appears to be by Carmon’s article.)

Local potpourri: April Fool’s Day in DC passed without major incident. Yes, there were some unfunny attempts at humor, outlined brutally and efficiently here by Rachel Kurzius, but at least no one stood in the middle of a road to make a joke/political poi–[checks earpiece] let’s talk about baby ferrets, shall we? There are some new ones. Speaking of the middle of the road, Beto O’Rourke visited Washington yesterday (he was in town for the “We the People” forum) and proved that you can’t come here without running into someone who used to be in Velocity Girl. What are the odds Bryce Harper hangs out with Clutch before the Philadelphia Phillies visit Washington for a contest this evening? Speaking of Harper, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted, then deleted, a picture of him captioned “Bryce Arnold.” Just yesterday, Washingtonian honcho Michael Schaffer published a guide to deciding whether you should boo Harper. Hey, it’s your seat.

Hi, I’m your Healthy Holly book, Andrew Beaujon, and I’m filling in for Brittany this morning. Email me at and follow me on Twitter—I’m pretty sure my boss has to give me a raise once I pass 10,000 followers. Please subscribe to this newsletter, and you’ll get to see Evy Mages‘s cherry blossom photos (the only ones worth seeing) all week.

Two Americas: A person who lives in rural Humphreys County, Mississippi, is more likely to be audited by the IRS than someone who lives in Loudoun County, “which boasts a median income of $130,000, the highest in the country.” If you live in Loudoun and haven’t quite finished your taxes yet, this is your time to go big! Meanwhile, DC Central Kitchen lost a “long-held contract to provide meals to residents of nearly all the city’s homeless shelters,” Morgan Baskin reports. An outfit called Henry’s will instead provide meals, at a higher reimbursement rate, to many of the city’s shelters. The move could cost DC Central Kitchen a dozen jobs, its chief development officer Alexander Moore tells Baskin.

Bloom watch: Peak bloom may last a weekJason Samenow and Kevin Ambrose report. Attention cyclists heading for the 14th Street Bridge: That’s several more days of Uber drivers stopping in the middle of the road near the Jefferson Memorial to let out passengers. Be alert!

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

• Why does it seem like people aren’t talking about Tim Kaine anymore? In part because he’s apparently the only Democratic Senator not running for President. “When the campaign was over, I had the really strong feeling that, with being in the Senate, I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing,” Kaine tells Matthew Cooper.

• Little Leaf will pop-up at the US Botanic Garden this week. The garden has no gift shop; Salt & Sundry/Little Leaf owner Amanda McClements says Little Leaf may create one there later.

• Look inside Lemon Collective co-founder Linny Giffin’s tiny but lovely Mount Pleasant home.

• The eight new restaurants you need to try now (though not at once, that would be weird).

• Is it okay to blame tourists for not knowing you need to stand to the right on Metro escalators?

• Happy 25th birthday to the Motley Fool, and also there’s some good Ted Leonsis stuff here.

• La Betty, the new comfort-food joint from the family behind Baked & Wired, will serve chicken schnitzel, corn dogs, and $3.50 beers.

• What’s it like to be a hotshot DC chefRahim Kanani interviewed lots of them for his new book.

• Exclusive spring travel deals for Washingtonian readers: For example, you can get away to beautiful Farmville, Virginia (a great favorite of your substitute newsletter author), to do some furniture shopping.

Our picks for things to do around town:

THEATER The musical Grand Hotel— based on the 1929 novel Menschen im Hotel— is about a group of hotel guests in 1920s Berlin. Follow the intersections of guests such as a fading ballerina, a doctor, a typist with Hollywood dreams, and a dying bookkeeper, all enjoying a taste of the high life. Through May 19 at Signature Theatre. $65-$109.

Good reads: 

Erin Lee Carr writes about the night her dad, David Carr, died: “Couldn’t I have at least thirty seconds to comprehend what had happened before the internet chimed in?” (The Cut)

• Deadspin’s pitch guide now includes examples of successful pitches. This is a great idea, and it’s something I’m going to try to convince my boss to include in ours.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.