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Media: Early Reactions To Politico's $8,000 / Year Education Page*

Screen shot 2013-07-26 at 3.22.31 PMFive days in, here's what little we know about Politico's new 'pro" education page:

The morning roundup has been good (and arrives super-early) but nothing spectacular.

Libby Nelson and Nirvih Shah have penned a handful of items.

Stephanie Simon's first story (on the parent trigger) came out today. (A Hechinger story on the trigger also came out.)*

Perhaps the highlight of the first week wasn't a story but rather a snippy exchange between Kady and EdWeek (see image).

Meanwhile, Politico won't tell me (or apparently anyone else) how much it will cost to get the pro education offerings:

"Subscription fees vary based on the type of organization (government, nonprofit and so on) and how many employees it has, as well as the number of coverage areas an organization wants, according to paidContent.  "Nieman Journalism Lab reported last year that an individual subscription starts at $3,295 a year, with group memberships starting at $8,000 for five people and one coverage area."

I'm sure there are for-profits and major nonprofits out there who can afford that kind of money, or will be attracted by the shiny new appeal of the Politico page, sort of like Google Glass (or a Tesla).

The news of the site's launch hit a couple of sites besides this one, including Fishbowl DC:  Politico Takes Us To School With Morning Education.  

However, there are inevitable questions:

"Education can be a pretty hot local beat—it’s one parents and communities pay attention to—but do people really clamor for this stuff from a place like Politico? It’s not quite as sexy as defense or even tech policy," wondered FishbowDC.  "But, then again, we keep hearing about this impending student loan crisis, so… maybe."

Some of the same questions came up from education pros I emailed for reactions:

"I heard they were putting that Pro product together and thought "Who would buy it?" commented one competing education journalist.  "That kind of product makes a lot more sense for industries where there a lot of analysts and lobbyists who feed off of every tidbit that comes out of Congress--energy, taxes, etc." 

However, there's been some excitement and enthusiasm, too:

"There is a big black hole in mainstream news for education coverage and especially news analysis as it relates to K-12 public education," wrote PEN Education NewsBlast founder Howie Schaffer.  "The philanthropy and nonprofit sectors have tried to make inroads in supporting coverage and news dissemination, to limited success. Politico is probably well capitalized enough to make a strong inroad in reporting. They will have to avoid being too "inside baseball" however, and avoid just covering Hill action."

For its own part, Politico believes there's a niche out there that it can fill:  

"Some education publications cover only higher education, while others stick to K-12 policy," emailed Martin Kady II, Editor, Politico Pro.  "Some outlets cover the politics of education, while others go deep on specific issues. POLITICO Pro Education will be the only platform that ties all of this together."

Kady goes on to promise "minute-by-minute, real-time updates on education policy news, deep dives on specific issues and insight into the compelling politics of education policy at the state and national level."

He also promises that Politico's coverage will be faster and ALSO more thoughtful than anyone else.  No shortage of confidence there -- which isn't necessarily a bad thing.


*Correction:  Simon had a story earlier in the week, on Common Core, that I didn't notice.


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Education news is different than other news. Education can't work very well without good community understanding (at least not in the current environment). That means its in everyone's interest to know what's going on, but not for the sake of how best to position a business model (the priority that anyone with enough money to buy one of these subscriptions will have). So I don't see this effort as something that will benefit society by benefitting education, rather as something where schemers and insiders and politicians will be able to get the info they need to make their decisions. That won't necessarily help any kids, but I dour that's the point anyway.

correction - simon wrote a story earlier in the week that i didn't notice

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