Who is John Harris, the Not-So-New Top Editor at Politico?

Harris previously worked as U.S. editor-in-chief for 12 years.

John Harris looks to the right and points his finger.
John Harris at the Fiscal Summit in 2012. Getty Images

John Harris will become the global editor-in-chief of Politico, according to a company memo. He co-founded the politics publication in 2007 and has since worked in positions at the executive level, including most recently as chairman of the editorial advisory board. Matt Kaminski, the current North American editor in chief, will relinquish his position at the end of August and become editor at large.

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“Throughout my time at POLITICO, I’ve been deeply impressed not only by John (Harris)’s journalistic prowess and political expertise but also by his visionary ideas about the future of media and POLITICO’s role in Washington and on the global stage,” said CEO Goli Sheikholeslami in the memo. “His intimate knowledge as a founder gives him a unique perspective to see and seize opportunities others may not.”

While Harris previously worked as U.S. editor-in-chief from 2007 to 2019, he is not returning to the job he once had, according to Sheikholeslami. He will again manage daily news coverage, but his role will include overseeing all U.S. and European news.

Harris learned he wanted to be a journalist while studying at Carleton College, a private liberal arts school in Northfield, Minnesota, according to his company profile. He began his career as an intern at the Washington Post in 1985 and remained there for 21 years. During his time at the Post, he covered politics on every level, from local to state (Virginia) to national. He spent six years covering the Clinton White House, which resulted in his book, The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House. The New York Times bestseller dives into the Clinton presidency, analyzing the administration’s personal and political decisions. Harris also co-authored The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008, which investigates presidential campaign tactics. He ended his Post career as national politics editor.

Harris overlapped with Jim VandeHe, Politico co-founder, at the Post from 2003 to 2006. VandeHe worked as a congressional and White House reporter, according to his LinkedIn. The two would pass the time discussing how they could start a politics publication, which became a reality when banker Robert Allbritton came on board. The three launched The Politico, a print newspaper in Washington D.C., as well as its accompanying website with 60 employees in 2007. The publication became known as the shorter Politico in 2009.

In Harris’s first reign as editor, he helped usher in a new standard for reporting on politics, including in-depth coverage of elections and legislation as well as breaking news big and small. He also helped the publication branch into more long-form journalism and analysis. When VandeHe departed the company in 2016, Harris worked with Allbritton to refocus Politico. As editorial chair from 2019 to now, Harris has been advising the company on long-term strategy.

“With John at the helm, we are primed to embark on POLITICO’s most ambitious journey yet, as we set sail to traverse greater distances at unprecedented speeds,” said Sheikholeslami.

Who is John Harris, the Not-So-New Top Editor at Politico?