Longtime Politico editor Carrie Budoff Brown is leaving the publication for a gig with NBC. As Senior Vice President of “Meet the Press,”Budoff Brown will “be responsible for MTP’s editorial programming on television, digital and streaming and will work to expand the iconic brand’s reach and impact even further,” NBC News president Noah Oppenheim said in a memo to staff.
Budoff Brown joined Politico in its startup days in 2007, and has been with the publication since. She has served as a staff writer covering the Senate, the 2008 campaign, and the White House, and as a managing editor of Politico Europe in Belgium. She has been editor of Politico since November 2016, and has led the publication through the Trump years, the pandemic, and the 2020 election. Prior to Politico, she was a staff writer at the Hartford Current and Philadelphia Inquirer.
Washingtonian acquired a copy of the memo sent to Politico staff about Budoff Brown’s departure from Chairman Robert Allbritton:
I am writing this morning with the kind of mixed emotions—sadness, pride, gratitude, and optimism—that I tend to experience mainly around big family moments. As it happens, this is precisely one of those occasions. Carrie Budoff Brown, an important part of my life and a member of our POLITICO family for nearly 15 years, has let me and Matt Kaminski know that she has decided to accept a leadership position outside our newsroom.
NBC News, where she is headed to a position helping chart the future of the historic “Meet the Press” franchise, can count itself lucky—just as we at POLITICO can count ourselves lucky that we have had this exceptional journalist by our sides for the birth of our publication and critical phases of its growth in the United States and Europe.
Her decision does not come as a surprise. In recent weeks, she and I have had searching and quite gratifying conversations about her professional life, her interests, and the abundant possibilities ahead of her. This choice is not what I would wish for myself, which is that she would stay at POLITICO to continue to learn and lead as she has done for the past decade and a half. I will say that it is what I would wish for Carrie, upon learning more about her thinking.
She was already an accomplished reporter when she reached out to us in the late fall of 2006 to join us in the startup that we would launch in early 2007. But in important ways, she grew up here professionally. POLITICO is where her reputation blossomed from a top regional reporter to an acclaimed national one. And POLITICO is where she became an editor—almost by accident in 2015 when John Harris pleaded with her to help get the Europe project off the ground by setting aside her plans to be a top European Union correspondent with a “temporary” assignment in management.
Having learned so much about leadership here, I can fully understand her desire to see what it is like putting these gifts to use in a whole new venue. Whenever we have said we needed Carrie’s help, she has always given it. Now it is only fair that we give her the best wishes she, Tom and Celia deserve with her decision to explore a business that I know well: broadcast television.
Of those mixed emotions I mentioned, I suppose it is obvious why I would be feeling sadness, pride, and gratitude. Let me explain more about why I am so optimistic. One of Carrie’s achievements—made in concert with so many people here—has been to create a much different newsroom than the one she took over upon her return from Brussels in 2016.
At that time, we were coming off a strong run of journalistic successes, but many parts of our newsroom needed focused attention if we were to put this place on a sustainable and long-term growth trajectory. Carrie made special efforts to improve our audience engagement team and drive innovation on our platforms; as we look around us, we see people like Lily Mihalik, Ali Manzano and Paul Volpe, who are in essential jobs that did not exist previously. She invigorated reporters and forged strong relationships with editors like Luiza Savage, Joe Schatz, Blake Hounshell, Sudeep Reddy, Karey Van Hall, Angela Greiling Keane, Marty Kady, Peter Canellos, Steve Heuser, Brooke Minters, Mike Zapler, Robin Turner, Irene Noguchi, Jess Cuellar and so many others that have driven our journalism forward, particularly as she and Matt Kaminski did the work of reorganizing a modern newsroom.
Above all, Carrie drove our coverage of the Trump era in Washington, an unprecedented period that saw POLITICO produce some of its highest impact journalism at the intersection of politics and policy – with the awards (and Cabinet resignations) to prove it.
In those early days of POLITICO, I was aware of every hire and was often directly involved in recruiting in a way that we are too big to do today. As John Harris reminded me, our promise to the young Philadelphia Inquirer reporter was that she would have more fun, more impact, and reap the benefits of more success if she joined our startup. Just as she delivered on her end of the bargain, we have delivered on ours. We are going to keep delivering now for our collection of newsrooms that includes more than five hundred journalists spanning nine time zones.
In the same way we asked so often for Carrie’s help, I am now asking for help from all of you. In 2020, a hard year for everyone, we did manage to have the most successful year in the history of our company. We are on track for an even better year in 2021. As has been true from the outset, I have never been interested in taking profit out of the publication. Instead, my aim is to reinvest the dividends of success in growth. I would like to hire more editors and reporters, grow into new coverage areas domestically and internationally, and perhaps consider more acquisitions that fit our strategy, along the lines of our recent embrace of E&E News and the wonderful journalists that brought into the fold. We are in an extremely competitive moment, but I have never been more bullish about POLITICO. This is based not simply on faith, which I have always had, but on concrete business and editorial results—which Carrie has played a large role in creating in recent years.
There is one more place where I would like to draw on examples I associate with Carrie. For all our recent success, we are emerging from a very difficult and often dark period—certainly for our country, but these outside events naturally affect us as journalists, media professionals, and citizens. There is serious work ahead, but as we emerge from the pandemic it feels reasonable at last to feel lightness. Let’s do that work with a spring in our step, with laughter, with joy in meeting and beating the competition, and with satisfaction in serving our country by serving our audience.
Thank you to Carrie—and thank you to each of her colleagues who joins me in wishing her well. More fun, more impact, more shared success—that is what lies ahead for us in the newsroom she and so many others have helped build.
And here’s the memo to staff from NBC News President Noah Oppenheim
I’m thrilled to announce that Carrie Budoff Brown will join NBC News in the newly created role of Senior Vice President of Meet the Press. In this role, like Libby Leist at TODAY and Janelle Rodriguez at Nightly News, Carrie will oversee the MTP brand in its entirety – from its gold standard Sunday public affairs programming and MTP Daily show on MSNBC, to the already successful expansions into streaming, audio, film, and more.
Carrie has been a leader at Politico since day one, most recently serving as editor. She’s responsible for leading Politico’s newsroom, including their team of political and policy reporters since November 2016, to dozens of top media industry honors. She previously was the managing editor of Politico Europe and a White House correspondent before that. At NBC News, Carrie will be responsible for MTP’s editorial programming on television, digital and streaming and will work to expand the iconic brand’s reach and impact even further.
Over the last six years, Chuck, John Reiss and the team have transformed Meet the Press into a modern political franchise, outpacing the competition by expanding into the newsletter business, podcasting, its annual documentary film festival, and most recently, finding great success in the streaming space with Meet the Press Reports on NBC News NOW. We’re excited to bring Carrie’s expertise to the team to build on this growth and explore even more ways to engage news consumers.
John Reiss will remain Executive Producer of Meet the Press and Melissa Frankel will continue to serve as Executive Producer of MTP Daily, both reporting into Carrie.
Please join me in welcoming Carrie to the NBC News and Meet the Press teams.