Garrett M. Graff, the former editor of POLITICO Magazine, is a leading authority on national security, technology, and politics. Of his first book, “The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House” (FSG, 2007), which examined the role of technology in the 2008 presidential race, The New York Times’ literary critic Michiko Kakutani wrote, “The astonishingly young Mr. Graff (who was born in 1981) proves in these pages that he is a cogent writer, willing to tackle large-scale issues and problems.”
Graff became in 2014 just the second editor ever of POLITICO Magazine, a publication that has quickly established itself as the nation’s leading general interest publication on politics. During his year as editor, he oversaw every aspect of the magazine’s 7-day-a-week content, which reached around 9 million readers a month, and regularly moderated public events with members of Congress, Cabinet department leaders, mayors, and other officials. For work published while he was editor, the magazine won its first National Magazine Award, for feature photography, and won multiple Society of News Design awards, including a gold medal and a silver medal.
He previously spent five years as the editor-in-chief of Washingtonian magazine, covering politics and life in the nation’s capital. Washingtonian, which calls itself “the magazine Washington lives by,” has a monthly print readership of about 300,000 and a million monthly readers online. During his time as the editor, he was named by PR Week as one of four “new media” journalists to watch and one of ten “rising stars” by the magazine industry trade magazine, Folio.
When Graff was appointed editor, Gawker.com wrote he was “an up and coming whippersnapper if we have ever seen one.” During his time as editor, the magazine won many of the industry’s most prestigious recognitions, including the Gerald R. Ford Prize for National Defense Reporting, the Livingston Award for National Reporting, two James Beard Award nominations for its food coverage, and the City/Regional Magazine Association’s awards for General Excellence, Online Excellence, and Excellence in Writing, as well as multiple FOLIO Ozzie Awards for design.
His books include, “The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War in the Age of Global Terror,” published in Spring 2011 by Little, Brown, which traced the history of the FBI’s counterterrorism program since the death of J. Edgar Hoover in 1972, its rise as a global police force, and profiles Robert Mueller, the longest-serving FBI Director since Hoover himself. The book, which hit #5 on the Washington Post’s list of political bestsellers, received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, which called it an “action-filled, richly detailed portrait of the Federal Bureau of Investigation” and said, “There’s solid storytelling at work here—and quite a story to tell, too.” Kirkus later named “The Threat Matrix” one of the best nonfiction books of 2011. The CIA, in its in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence, said, the book is “a well-told story and a reading pleasure.”
His e-book, “Angel is Airborne: JFK’s Final Flight From Dallas,” tells the dramatic story of the Air Force One flight back from Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963, following the assassination of President Kennedy. The original article was a finalist in 2014 for the Livingston Award for National Reporting, honoring the best reporting by writers under 35.
His next book, entitled “Raven Rock,” tracing the history of the government’s nuclear Doomsday plans during the Cold War, is set to be published in 2017 by Simon & Schuster and has been optioned in Hollywood for television.
As the first blogger admitted to cover a White House press briefing in 2005, he is a frequent speaker on blogging and the intersection of politics and technology, and his reporter’s notebook from that first day in the White House hangs in the Newseum in Washington, DC.
For seven years, Graff also taught social media and magazine writing to undergraduates and graduate students at Georgetown University’s journalism and communications programs, including classes on “Digital Political Campaigns,” “Intro to Social Media,” and “Magazines in the Digital Age.” Previously, he was the founding editor of mediaBistro.com’s Fishbowl D.C., a popular blog that covers the media and journalism in Washington, and co-founder of EchoDitto, Inc., a multi-million-dollar Washington, D.C.-based internet strategy consulting firm.
A Vermont native and graduate of Montpelier High School and Harvard, he served as deputy national press secretary on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and, beginning in 1997, was then-Governor Dean’s first webmaster.
From 2009 to 2011, he served as the media representative on the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Session for State Court Leaders in the 21st Century, where he authored a white paper, “Courts are Conversations: An Argument for Increased Engagement by Court Leaders.” He is on the board of the congressionally-chartered National Conference on Citizenship, and was formerly on the corporate advisory board of So Others Might Eat (SOME) in Washington, D.C. He is also a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow in the British-American Project.
His writing and commentary has appeared in publications like the Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired, New York, 5280, and the Huffington Post, and he has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox News, CNN, CNN Headline News, CNN International, CNBC, MSNBC, CBC, the BBC, Al Jazeera English, and various NPR programs, as well as local and regional television and radio channels, and been quoted in publications ranging from US Weekly to the Miami Herald.
He’s a regular speaker on technology, politics, and national security at places like the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the National Press Club, Harvard Business School, the Defense Department, U.S. Southern Command, the International Spy Museum, and the Google headquarters, as well as universities from Duke and Princeton to the University of Florida and Rice University, as well as to companies, trade groups, and to many international audiences—including Germany’s Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the BBC’s NewsXChange, Spain’s International Seminar of Political Communication, Austria’s University of Vienna, Israel’s IDC Herzliya, and the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
He comes from a long line of journalists: His grandfather, Bert McCord, was the drama critic for the New York Herald Tribune; his father, Christopher Graff, was the long-time bureau chief of the Associated Press in Vermont, and his mother, Nancy Price Graff, is a historian, children’s book author, and former magazine editor.
He and his wife, Katherine, were married in Barnard, Vermont, in 2013.