American political journalism publication Politico is set to launch its European edition in spring 2015 in conjunction with Axel Springer after acquiring Brussels-based outlet European Voice.
The digital and print editions of European Voice will be rebranded as Politico.eu and the organisation will look to employ more than 30 journalists across the continent.
"Our aim is to become, over time, a leading agenda setter on all subjects relating to European politics and policy," said John Harris, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Politico.
But where Washington is the focal point for Politico in the US, the European edition will treat its Brussels home as "typically one of several arenas that matter on the big questions".
"The Brussels debate is influenced by what's happening in the capitals," Harris told Journalism.co.uk, "and we're going to reflect that by having an editorial presence or footprint – a big one in Brussels – and then a targeted, focused one in select other capitals."The ongoing issue of north vs south, of austerity vs stimulus would be a natural for usJohn Harris, Politico
Harris said more nuanced topics in Europe would be Politico's "natural turf" alongside reaction to key events like the political tension in Ukraine.
"The ongoing issue... of north vs south, of austerity vs stimulus that continues to play out and has played out numerous times and that would be a natural for us," he said, also highlighting "regulatory issues [and] trade issues".
With European Voice's established platform and readership, at least in Brussels, Harris believes Politico will be well positioned to import its editorial model to the continent.
Media commentators have previously cast doubt on the demand for such a publication, however, particularly in the increasingly Eurosceptic UK. But Harris said he has been encouraged by existing "readers, sources, advertisers and subscribers" who have expressed an interest in the new venture.
And although it will only be published in English at launch, Harris said a multilingual approach could be possible in the future.We are looking for people who have that entrepreneurial drive, that like starting things newJohn Harris, Politico
"If people are reading it not in their native language – even if they're English speakers – it's hard to build up that close emotional connection that I think is a hallmark of us in the United States," he said. "And that's certainly something that we're going to look at and study and, I hope, act upon. "
The Wall Street Journal's Matthew Kaminski will head the European operation as executive editor, joined by European Voice owner and publisher Shéhérazade Semsar-de Boisséson as managing director.
Florian Eder of Die Welt and a number of existing Politico journalists will join the venture but Harris said they will be looking to hire more reporters from around Europe who "have shown an ability to thrive in the new media landscape".
"There's no single mould of journalist that has survived at Politico," he said, "there are lots of different models of reporters and editors who take to the Politico style.
"But we are looking for people who have that entrepreneurial drive, that like starting things new. They like the blank sheet of paper, they like the fact that we are not yet established in Europe, that we have to prove ourselves. They find that invigorating rather than intimidating."
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