I spoke yesterday with Matthew Prince, who left the Times Sunday to be the national editor at Politics and Government and an executive editor for a multiplatform political magazine.
“I left the Times to be part of something that has potential to be a really exciting magazine,” Prince said, and “better positioned to go to places and write about them differently.”
The publication was launched in March with a monthly email newsletter, Politics and Government. Prince will oversee the publication’s editorial side, but maintain editorial oversight of the Politico newsletter.
In a statement, Nicholas Confessore, executive editor of Politico, said of Prince, “He is both a dedicated journalist and a master at shaping digital strategy, an inherent strength for an editor trying to build an important brand.”
Politics and Government, a subscription-based enterprise, will focus primarily on four areas: government, ideas, culture and partisanship. Subscriptions will start at $2.99 a month.
“It’s a new platform and area that’s generated a ton of interest and will be complemented by the newsletter and ongoing reporting,” Prince said.
He said they will continue to be involved in a strategic direction for the Politico newsletter, adding, “I would hope that we could start to write a lot more about ideas.”
He said they’re looking at possible partnerships, like the one with Fox News Channel.
Prince said he is excited to be reunited with Phil Bredesen, president of the magazine, for whom he worked at Newsweek. Prince also believes Bredesen will keep the magazine’s independence.
I asked Prince about the similarities and differences between covering big-budget issues and small-bore issues, like Saturday night college baseball.
He said he has to speak to both to pick the right stories, but said he likes how current events are “more of a straight story” and it’s important to give people facts, as opposed to investigating “how guys like me put together the puzzle.”
Bredesen and Prince say they hope to write stories that don’t have the clock on them. They hope to let readers discover stories without one to justify it.
“The notion of the magazine is one that’s created by audience-based journalism, a magazine aimed at thinkers and doers, that’s not going to pretend to make decisions for you, it’s not going to provide solutions, it’s not going to tell you how to react,” Prince said.
Prince said the idea of covering politics from both the political and intellectual standpoint has always excited him, but now he is one of those people.
“There is always exciting political stuff out there. I’m excited about thinking about different ways of presenting that content for the magazine and hopefully at some point people will want to read it,” Prince said.
Hearst Magazine, which owns Politics and Government, is probably best known for its Country Life magazine, but Prince said the magazine will be “a different product” than Country Life or the Times Magazine.
Prince joined The Times in March as a copy editor for Digital, a stop before becoming a reporter. He also worked at The Wall Street Journal.