Apr 23, 2024 - Business

Exclusive: Puck hires John Heilemann as chief political columnist

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John Heilemann. Photo: Brigitte Lacombe

Puck, the subscription newsletter company, on Tuesday will announce it has hired veteran journalist and TV commentator John Heilemann as its chief political columnist and partner, Puck's co-founder tells Axios.

Why it matters: Heilemann's hiring will bolster Puck's coverage of power and politics ahead of the November election. It comes as Puck pushes to expand its presence in Washington.

  • The company, which will host its first event for the White House Correspondents' Dinner this week, has built out a broader slate of Washington events and products in recent months.

Zoom in: Heilemann is also an analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and was the co-creator of Showtime's political docuseries, "The Circus."

  • At Puck, he will author a weekly column, titled "Impolitic," and will anchor a new Sunday edition of Puck's daily political private email, "The Best & The Brightest," per Jon Kelly, Puck's co-founder.
  • Heilemann will also appear on Puck's daily "Powers That Be" podcast podcast throughout the week alongside the outlet's other political writers, including Tara Palmeri, Julia Ioffe, Peter Hamby, Tina Nguyen and Abby Livingston, Kelly said.
  • Puck will also relaunch Heilemann's podcast, "Hell & High Water," which has been on a hiatus, under the new name "Impolitic with John Heilemann."

Between the lines: Heilemann most recently launched and sold a video news startup called The Recount.

  • With that in the rearview and "The Circus" ending its run for now, Heilemann will now devote most of his energy and focus to Puck.
  • "As a partner of Puck, he (Heilemann) is a part of the same profit-sharing structure as every other partner," Kelly said. He also has a salary, performance incentives and stock options," Kelly said.
  • "When I said this is gonna be my home, I meant that," Heilemann added. He will remain an on-air analyst with NBC News and MSNBC.

The big picture: Heilemann is the latest in a string of new hires at Puck with distinct subject matter expertise.

  • Earlier this month, the company acquired Artelligence, a Substack newsletter about the global art market authored by veteran art director and journalist Marion Maneker.
  • It hired longtime Sports Business Journal columnist John Ourand in December.
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