Star Newsday Reporter Flees After Potential Reassignment to Hempstead; Nia-Malika Henderson to Politico

One of Sam Zell’s big theories for newspapers is to get more and more local.

While Newsday was still under Mr. Zell’s grasp, he managed to dismantle its national desk, and dispense with nearly every non-Long Island beat.

Even though it’s finally out of his control and into the, uh, gentle hands of the Dolans, the new owners have shown no interest is straying from that philosophy. Now we’re starting to learn the cost.

Star political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, who was one of the few national correspondents left and who covered President-elect Barack Obama for the paper, is fleeing the paper for Politico.

A Newsday source tells us that she jumped at the Politico offer after her editors at Newsday were ready to hand her a prize once she came back to (the pet nickname for some at the paper) Hellville: the cushy job as Hempstead’s beat reporter!

And that’s apparently one of the better jobs. “It’s a decent town when it comes to beats,” our source said. The national desk is pretty much history now. Glenn Thrush, the paper’s other star political reporter, also left for Politico back in July.

Update, 3:05 p.m.: See also, Gordon, Raju To Politico (Mediabistro’s FishbowlDC).

Star Newsday Reporter Flees After Potential Reassignment to Hempstead; Nia-Malika Henderson to Politico