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This is a site dedicated to objective up-to-the-moment political reporting. A necessary informational tool as we in the United States, examine the state of the union...

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We welcome readers to The Politico and Thanks for giving us a look on our debut.

The Politico's goals are simple. Over the past several weeks, we set out to assemble the most talented and interesting collection of journalists -- established names as well as promising young people -- that we could find. Now, we will turn these reporters loose on the subject we love: national politics.

We will focus on three arenas. The first is Congress and the constant flow of agendas, personalities and power struggles that define daily life on Capitol Hill. The second is the 2008 presidential campaign, a race already churning and one likely to shape history in ways far beyond the typical election. The third is lobbying and advocacy, a part of the capital economy undergoing rapid growth and change. It is a business alive with interesting and influential characters whose impact is dimly understood and insufficiently covered.

We won't usually be chasing the story of the day. We'll put our emphasis on the "backstories" -- those that illuminate the personalities, relationships, clashes, ideas and political strategies playing out in the shadows of official Washington.

Reading a story should be just as interesting as talking with the reporter over a sandwich or a beer. It's a curiosity of journalism that this often isn't true. The traditional newspaper story is written with austere, voice-of-God detachment. These newspaper conventions tend to muffle personality, humor, accumulated insight -- all the things readers hunger for as they try to make sense of the news and understand what politicians are really like. Whenever we can, we'll push against these limits. In the process, we'll share with readers a lot more of what we know instead of leaving it in our notebooks...

There is a handful of ideas animating Politico journalism. None of them alone is revolutionary. Cumulatively, we think they are distinctive -- enough so to answer those who wonder how we'll distinguish ourselves in a world already glutted with news and commentary...

Politico will promote and celebrate journalists who have a unique signature. That's why we've been able to attract reporters and editors who have worked at such places as Time magazine and The New York Times, National Public Radio, Roll Call and The Hill, Bloomberg News Service, the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today and The Washington Post.

There is a difference, however, between voice and advocacy. That's one traditional journalism ideal we fully embrace. There is more need than ever for reporting that presents the news fairly, not through an ideological prism. One of the most distressing features of public life recently has been the demise of shared facts. Warring partisans -- many of whom take their news from sources that cater to and amplify their existing opinions -- live in separate zones of reality. In such a climate, every news story is viewed as either weapon or shield in a nonstop ideological war. Our answer to this will be journalism that insists on the primacy of facts over ideology. Our belief in this is one reason The Politico will not have a traditional editorial page. Only rarely will we write as "We."

Our readers' opinions matter more than our own. One feature bridging The Politico and is called "Speak to Power." Anyone who wants to post a commentary online on our opinion section can do so. The best pieces -- as judged by the vote of readers -- will also be published in the print edition, where they will be seen by lawmakers, staff and others with influence in Washington.

Another feature on the site will be the daily "Talker." If a piece is a talker, the reporter will read and respond to comments and complaints throughout the day. These features reflect one of our goals: We want to not simply present the news but also to give readers ways to interact with our journalism and shape its direction. at the moment is a pretty standard site, still in its initial design. But its evolution will be an immediate and nonstop process. As we add features, we'll look for ways to make not just a source of content but a community where people who care about politics come to talk about the news.

Two years from now, the 44th president will be inaugurated. We'll follow the drama between now and then -- and beyond -- every step of the way. We'll be learning a lot and having fun, and we invite you to join us for the journey. Here we go.

John F. Harris, editor in chief
Jim VandeHei, executive editor
Jan. 23, 2007

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