Dear Politicos— The Magazine is delighted to announce that Garrett Graff is starting today as a senior staff writer. The editor of Washingtonian magazine for the last five years, he is also an accomplished author at work on his third book and he’ll bring his sharp eye to long form narratives and big reported pieces for us.
From 2009 to 2014, as Washingtonian’s top editor, he led an ambitious revamp of the publication and landed many prestigious awards for the magazine, including the Gerald R. Ford Prize for National Defense Reporting, two James Beard Award nominations for its food coverage, and the City/Regional Magazine Association award for general excellence. This year, Washingtonian was a finalist for a record 15 awards from the City/Regional Magazine Association. He managed to do all that while also finding time for writing, and he was a finalist this spring for the Livingston Award for national reporting for his article, “Angel is Airborne: JFK’s Final Flight from Dallas,” which traced the story of the Air Force One flight back from Dallas on November 22, 1963, following the assassination of President Kennedy. His first book, “The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House,” examined the role of technology in the 2008 presidential race. His bestselling second book, “The Threat Matrix: The FBI At War in the Age of Global Terror,” is the definitive history of the FBI since the death of J. Edgar Hoover,, and he is now at work on a book about the Cold War and the government’s Doomsday plans.
A Vermonter and Harvard graduate, Garrett was deputy national press secretary on Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign and later a cofounder of an Internet strategy consulting firm. In 2005, when he was the founding editor of mediabistro’s blog FishblowlDC, he was the first blogger accredited to cover a White House press briefing.
We are delighted to welcome him to POLITICO Magazine, and hope you’ll all find a chance to meet him soonest.
Susan and Blake
My “Angel is Airborne” piece from Washingtonian’s November 2013 special issue on the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination has been named a finalist for the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which honors the best reporting and writing by journalists under 35. It’s a pretty amazing list of writers and reporting being honored, so I’m amazed to be in that company. (Last year, actually, Washingtonian won the Livingston Award for Rachel Manteuffel’s piece “The Things They Leave Behind.”)
If you’re interested in reading the piece, “Angel is Airborne: JFK’s Final Flight from Dallas,” you can pick it up here as an ebook on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble for the Nook. It’s actually done pretty well on Amazon, consistently staying one of the top politics sellers in “Short Reads.”
My latest article, “Angel is Airborne,” is out in the new November Washingtonian, recreating the most famous Air Force One flight of all time—LBJ’s trip back from Dallas on November 22, 1963, and all of the drama, history, and personal conflict that played out on the 132-minute flight back. (“Angel,” as you may know, is the codename for Air Force One.)
It’s a mammoth article, the biggest we’ve published in fifteen years—over 18,000 words split across two parts—and it’s got a special fancy treatment online from our web team, which is worth checking out even if you’re not going to read the piece.
The story also includes rarely seen documents and photos, like the photos of JFK’s casket being loaded onto Air Force One in Dallas, LBJ’s handwritten to-do list upon becoming president, and the original flight manifest, hurriedly written by an Air Force steward on board that day. When I first found the manifest in the archives at the LBJ Library this summer, which begins with LBJ and Lady Bird and continues through the 40-some passengers the steward recorded, my heart stopped at his final notation scrawled across the bottom: “Body of Pres K—.”
This piece marks a new experiment for Washingtonian: We published only the first part of the article in the print magazine—to read the whole article, including “Part II: In the Air,” readers can either download the Washingtonian tablet edition or go online.
I had the chance to write a whitepaper for the Germany-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation, capturing my thoughts and observations on the still unfolding revelations about the National Security Agency and Edward Snowden. My main observation: The extent of the US government’s surveillance system is stunning but not surprising. The most upsetting aspect of PRISM, however, is not its sophistication and scope of data collection but the fact that it embodies the very worst of counterterrorism culture. Read the full paper here (PDF).