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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


A look inside D.C. news

Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway
Aerial view of the Washington Monument with the Capitol in the background.

Journalism has long served as a gateway to the public, offering endless communities information through newspapers, television and other avenues. Understanding the different  positions, challenges and experiences of current experts from a department of a major news corporation, POLITICO, can help UA students of all majors learn the importance of journalism and the media world.

POLITICO is based in Arlington County, Virginia, and covers all aspects of politics, including the people, current events and the U.S.’s global role. POLITICO produces online content, plus content for television, radio and a magazine. This modern company has built a reputation on breaking away from traditional, “old-school” journalism and offers audiences Internet-accessible features such as the POLITICO Playbook, and connection through social media via Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

POLITICO, like any other major news corporation, possesses a colorful and diverse staff team. Many people presume that a job in journalism only entails reporting or editing. In truth, behind all of the writing, business, marketing and advertising play a major role. The Daily Wildcat spoke with two employees of POLITICO who explained their diverse roles and experiences.

First up is Meredith McPhillips, the managing director of business development at POLITICO. McPhillips said she enjoys incorporating an agency perspective within the media arena. She currently collaborates with clients and agencies in order to build strong communication relations and journalism advocacy programs through the use of the web, newspapers, magazines and major events.

Daily Wildcat: What steps could prospective students, like UA journalism majors, take in order to get their foot in the door?

McPhillips: “For me, gaining well-rounded experience became my strategy. It might also prove beneficial to visit the old school newsrooms and gain that mental picture. I interned at CNN, and I was trying to understand the TV and news broadcasting field. I wanted to see how it all worked. It is always helpful to have a foundation in something that is considered old school. Leveraging internships are also a great way to grasp some of that much needed experience.”

Nick Yaeger, managing director at POLITICO, expressed his enthusiasm for his contributing role within the corporation. Yaeger aids in the management of POLITICO FOCUS, a brand journalism and data studio that strives for innovation.

What qualities does it take to emerge as a leader in the news industry?

Yaeger: “Empathy … It’s really important on the business side, but also very important on the internal side. If you’re a reporter or a salesperson, your ability to understand and really appreciate the pressures, constraints and opportunities that you find exciting can make a difference. Being an empathetic leader within a media company is huge, it makes you relatable. You cannot place yourself on an ivory tower, and our industry has a history of ivory tower mentality and of leadism. Corporate executives looked down on the lower offices. As an effective leader, you have to sit across the table from someone, look them in the eyes and understand the many different elements that make that person, that person. Then, and only then, can you start to take your vision and relate it to them in a way that’s authentic.”

Both McPhillips and Yaeger exhibited a passion for their roles within the company. 

With thoughtful answers and years of experience, McPhillips and Yaeger act as a portal between the corporate side of the news industry and prospective UA students. Journalism, along with its marketing and advertising, has been branded as a shrinking field due to social media and Internet outlets. 

Media corporations such as POLITICO strive to fight against this by working with the changing times in order to keep journalism alive and well.

To learn more, visit

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