It's no secret that the successful politics web-print hybrid start-up Politico has modeled itself after ESPN, at least in its hyper-intense coverage planning. (And Mike Allen's Playbook -- like the Daily Quickie! But...um...better! Better? Yeah: Better. No! Different! Equally good!)
Here's another page from the ESPN playbook:
In the same way that ESPN has gone into local markets -- successfully -- Politico announced that it is going "local," by launching coverage of the DC metro area.
(Let's call it right now: When ESPN launches ESPNDC.com -- and how could they not? -- they will partner with Politico, in the same way ESPNChicago partnered with Huffington Post.)
Anyway, Politico has hired a smart guy named Jim Brady to run the DC spin-off -- he's a good fit, having formerly been the executive editor of WashingtonPost.com.
That's why Brady -- of all people -- should know what his very first editorial hire should be:
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post, who has set the gold standard among newspaper sports bloggers with his essential "DC Sports Bog."
It's not just that Steinberg has been the gold standard for newspaper sports blogging -- or any reported sports blogging, newspaper or otherwise. It's that Steinz has actually raised his game -- as recently as this week!
His reporting from the Redskins' anti-fan debacle on Monday night was gripping reading -- through his reporting, he exclusively crystallized the moment when "Snyder has lost the fans" went national. (He continued the excellent reporting yesterday.)
Politico is no stranger to Washington Post talent -- it was founded by Washington Post political talent, Harris and VandeHei, and there is no bigger talent -- or star, frankly -- in DC sports coverage than Dan Steinberg.
And so before Jim Brady makes that call to Tony Kornheiser -- and he absolutely should -- he should recruit Dan Steinberg as the hub of his sports coverage. Pay whatever he needs to pay. Entice him by leveraging Politico's expertise in turning their reporters into multi-platform stars.
DC gets a lot of crap as a carpet-baggish sports town -- but, next to national politics, the Redskins are the biggest story in town. (See the quixotic but admirable network of Redskins bloggers set up by that Washington Examiner guy last week.)
No one covers the Redskins more interestingly than Steinberg.
Politico proper has the politics covered. If Brady wants to make a splash with his DC metro coverage, it starts with the Redskins -- and it starts with Dan Steinberg as the cornerstone.
(And, by the way: If you're the Post? You have arguably the best and most innovative sports section in the country, particularly online. I would recognize that Steinberg is the most valuable asset of the section -- yes, even more than Wilbon or Wise or the myriad Skins beat reporters. Lock him up... before Politico does. He would be harder to replace than anyone on the staff.)