Your Neighbor Next Door John Harris


Political Animals are coming out of hibernation in full force this winter and one Del Ray journalist is helping them do it.

John Harris, the editor in chief of The Politico, a newly launched newspaper and web site that offers readers the inside scoop on presidential politics, Capitol Hill wranglings and good old fashioned Washington gossip with style, enterprise and impact. 

And dont forget humor.  

The Politico was launched earlier this year by Rosslyn-based Allbritton Communications, which also runs WJLA 7 and News Channel 8.  The new pub dubs itself  the no Anna Nicole Smith zone unless the father happens to be a politician.

Harris got his start in journalism as an intern with the Washington Post in 1985. His career at the Post spanned 21 years during which time he worked the Virginia political beat as a reporter based in Richmond.  He later covered the Clinton White House, which inspired him to write The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House.

But Harris sensed a new direction in journalism and a shift in the needs and wants of readers. He started to think about what it would be like to start a new newspaper with a fresher approach that engaged younger readers with an online emphasis. He bounced his idea off of his colleague at the Post Jim VandeHei, and the two men found an investor in Robert Allbritton, who runs ABC 7 and News Channel 8 in Rosslyn, to bring their idea to fruition.

The Politico is less than a year old, but is already becoming a must-read for political junkies every morning. It currently has a print circulation of 25,000 and receives millions of hits on the papers companion web site 

How does Harris explain his success? He says the politico offers a combination of editorial sensibility, insightful revelations and and we are determined to have fun while doing it-something that is in lamentably short supply in newsrooms these days.  Harris says he wants readers to get the feeling they are getting information as they would while having a beer with a reporter. 

His reporters are top-tier. They come from the best editorial teams across the country including Mike Allen from Time, Roger Simon from U.S. News and World Report, and Marty Tolchin from the New York Times  In addition to the hard stories you can read in print, blog fans can check out politico. com for Shenanigans, a gossip blog for Washington-dirt lovers, The Crypt, a congressional blog, and Ben and Smith, a blog by a Republican and Democrat following the ever-growing field of presidential candidates. 

When Harris isnt chasing the next big story or writing a new book like last years The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008, he and his wife Ann OHanlon spend time in Del Ray with their three children.  Harris loves Alexandria because it reminds him of his days as a reporter in Richmond. I just like feeling like a Virginian, he says.

He shops at the Old Town Whole Foods, loves to grab coffee at Buzz on Slater Lane, and sends his children to a local elementary school.

With the presidential election season in full bore, Harris wont have much time for leisurely coffee breaks and grocery shopping, but if his Del Ray neighbors need any good scoop on the candidates, they wont need to look too far. 

They already know him as the politico next door.