Politico’s Mike Allen visits VCU

Zarmeena Waseem

Contributing Writer

As part of Mass Comm Week, VCU hosted a speech by Mike Allen, the chief White House correspondent for Politico.com.

Allen walked around to each of the seated guests, shaking hands and introducing himself. About 60 people turned out for the centerpiece of VCU’s Mass Comm Week.

He was introduced by a man whom he had the opportunity of interviewing several times – Jerry Kilgore, whose 2005 gubernatorial campaign was covered in part by Allen. Kilgore was also the former Attorney General of Virginia.

“He doesn’t let anything go until he has the facts,” Kilgore said.

Allen’s journalism career began in Fredericksburg, Va., where he wrote for The Free Lance-Star. He then moved onto the Richmond Times-Dispatch, after which he began covering national politics. Allen spent six years at the Washington Post, writing on everything from campaign finance to both of the Bush campaigns. He became what Kilgore called “a respected reporter where it is hard to be respected.”

Allen has also covered a range of topics for the New York Times and served as Chief White House correspondent for Time Magazine before switching over to Politico.

Since his move to Politico, Allen has become an icon in the Washington political sphere. He was featured in a New York Times Magazine article that dubbed him “The Man the White House Wakes Up To.”

Branding himself as a glass-half-full kind of guy, Allen said that although the media has gone through some rough periods, mass communication majors have a future.

“It is a great time to be a student of mass communications or a consumer of news,” he said.

He spent some time discussing what makes Politico successful and how the organization fosters a wide following in spite of serious challenges. In a day where viral marketing and technology are key, every click is precious and every glance at a banner ad is counted, he said.

Allen said that Politico has never been marketed or advertised. It continues to be read by more than 80,000 subscribers because it serves a demand that already exists. He told the crows that “the quality of information is high,” and smart consumers are abundant.

Allen closed by saying, “the worst job can be the best job.”

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