Meet the Media: Politico PRO

Colby Bermel, Patrick George, Angela Hart

Contact: Patrick George

KP Public Affairs

p. 916-498-7731

In January 2019, Politico PRO launched in Sacramento providing in-depth reporting on policy and its evolution to law. KP Public Affairs recently checked in with Politico reporters Angela Hart, Alex Nieves and Colby Bermel to learn more about their beats, how PR and communications professionals can aid in their coverage and hear updates on the media outlet. (Reporter contact info is below).

Angela Hart leads California healthcare policy coverage and writes primarily on legislative bill development and amendments. She strives to know the comprehensive scope and nature of bills considered by the legislature. She is also interested in amendments and supporting /opposing organizations.

  • “We prioritize what we’re working on in terms of short, medium, and long-term horizons but things get shuffled around accordingly.”
  • “We don’t have to have every detail cooked fully to make it newsworthy. It’s okay if you don’t know messaging or the ultimate goal yet, we’ll do that work on the back end to understand it.”
  • Wants to know about big healthcare bills coming back in 2020 and Medi-Cal Fee-For-Service shift at Department of Health Care Services on prescription meds.
  • What’s a ‘scoop’ for Hart? “I care a lot about new bills. I want all that have to do with healthcare. If there’s amendments that are significant, those are scoops too. If there’s a major player submitting a letter asking for a change, I’m interested.”
  • Re: embargoes – “we’re used to working with them. I like exclusives because I know I’m going to do the best job covering the story, but I’m always willing and happy to work with others depending on organizational interests.” Prefers to have more time to do background conversations (helps to have 24 hours or more depending on complexity). Likes to do pre-reporting and backgrounds so she can thoroughly understand the topic. Breaking news can also disrupt workflow, so more time is helpful.
  • Even if you’re not sure who would be covering a story, send it along to any Sacramento reporter and we’ll route it to the right person. “We have a lot of different avenues for things to get published.”
  • For sit downs, Hart prefers on the record conversations but is willing to do background conversations. She can run quotes past the interview subject to make sure it’s correct.
  • Sacramento reporters coordinate with reporters in other bureaus and Washington DC (400 colleagues in Wash. DC). Hart notes Politico is hiring six healthcare reporters in Wash. DC.
Alex Nieves

Alex Nieves leads cannabis coverage for Politico PRO focusing on state legislation and local guidelines. Looking ahead to 2020, Nieves is interested in changes to state and local tax structures and bills to expand the cannabis market.

  • Nieves covers the Bureau of Cannabis Control, Cal. Dept. of Pub. Health, Cal. Dept. Food and Ag and local jurisdictions.
  • Vaping has paralyzed the industry so that’s the big issue. Highly interested in social equity, impact of cannabis criminalization and adverse impacts on specific communities.
  • Also looking at how cities may expand access.
  • “There’s not a lot of competition in the cannabis space. But don’t send me an embargoed story on news that is already on the record.”
  • “I appreciate working on the bills because other outlets tend to cover big picture.”

Colby Bermel covers California energy and power topics such as California’s climate goals, renewables and fossil fuels and PG&E. He covers the Cal. Pub. Util. Comm., Energy Commission, CAISO, municipal utilities and companies connected to energy in California. He strives to provide Politico readers a preview and background prior to a vote or decision.

  • “We’re also interested in things that are percolating but not a fully-fledged story.” For example, he wrote a story this summer on plans to introduce legislation regarding PG&Es payment of catastrophic wildfire claims and expenses three weeks before it was publicly released (AB 235).
  • Bermel comes from a financial background and is comfortable with complexity: “I report iterative details.”
  • Values all sides of the story. “Even if you’re not on the more popular side or majority, we want to hear from you.”
  • “We also know thought processes change daily, so we want to stay on top of that.”
  • Bermel flagged multiple desks in DC like agriculture, trade and immigration; “we coordinate and pass along info to them.”

Politico PRO – Sacramento Reporters

Angela Hart

Alex Nieves

Colby Bermel

Mackenzie Mays

Debra Kahn
Environment and Transportation

Katy Murphy
Consumer Regs and Data Privacy

Jeremy White
Housing and Homeless


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