John Harris and Jim VandeHei 2015
NPF judges said: “John and Jim saw an opening before others did, then charged through it despite the risks and naysayers. They have adapted traditional political reporting for the digital age. Now they are pursuing the same brand of original reporting in politics and government at the state level, expanding coverage in state capitols at a time regional papers are curtailing it. They have brought energy, imagination and an entrepreneurial spirit to reshaping journalism as it must be practiced in the future.”
Jim VandeHei is the co-founder and CEO of POLITICO, the digital media company that upended and forever changed political and policy journalism in Washington, New York, Europe – and soon beyond. VandeHei – a congressional and White House reporter for The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal before becoming an entrepreneur – is a leading strategic mind behind POLITICO and its high-growth, high-impact and highly scalable business and journalistic model. Vanity Fair named him one of the 100 leading information age thinkers in America for his early work helping create POLITICO.
VandeHei is a chief architect of both the editorial and business models for the 9-year-old publication. In 2013, he took what he called a sabbatical from writing and content-shaping to serve as president and CEO to guide a rapid national and international expansion. Under his leadership, POLITICO has expanded into Europe, New York and announced plans to ultimately plant reporters and the company flag in capitals of consequence here and abroad.
VandeHei is a regular guest on “Morning Joe” and frequent commentator or public speaker on politics, the media and business culture. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, Autumn Hanna VandeHei and their two children. He was born, raised and schooled in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1994 and has lived in the Washington, D.C. area since then.
John F. Harris is the editor in chief and a co-founder of POLITICO, a publication specializing in national politics and the workings of the federal government.
Harris, a native of Rochester, N.Y., began his newspaper career in 1985 as a summer intern at the Washington Post. He spent the next 21 years at the paper in a succession of beats that began in Virginia politics. He covered the term of Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, the nation’s first elected black governor and six years, starting in 1995, covering the White House during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Harris’s last position at the Post was national politics editor. He is the author in 2005 of “The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House,” a history of the 42nd president which was a New York Times bestseller and a Times notable book of the year. He is also co-author of a book on modern politics, “The Way to Win,” which he wrote with Mark Halperin.
In late 2006, Harris joined with colleague Jim VandeHei to launch POLITICO, in collaboration with publisher Robert Allbritton. The publication was recently named by “Fast Company” magazine to its annual list of America’s most innovative companies. Harris was also recently listed in the Telegraph’s list of most influential Washington journalists and GQ’s list of the most influential people in Washington. He is a frequent guest on such shows as PBS’s “Washington Week” and “Charlie Rose Show,” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He is a member of the Board of Trustees for the German Marshall Fund of the United States and his alma mater, Carleton College.