U.S. Education Dept. decides Politico Pro costs too much

(By Marvin Joseph/ The Washington Post)
(By Marvin Joseph/ The Washington Post)

The U.S. Education Department wanted to buy an annual subscription to POLITICO Pro to read its education coverage but decided that it was too expensive.

According to this solicitation, (which I found from a tweet by ed blogger Alexander Russo) the department’s Office of Communications and Outreach (OCO) wanted to “purchase a subscription to POLITICO Pro, a subscription-based news service distributed by email and accessible online.”  It says:

While multiple news agencies cover Congressional activities and politics, POLITICO is the leader in subscriber-only content delivered promptly and tailored to an organization’s needs. No other source has been found to provide the timely breaking news and in-depth, targeted coverage that POLITICO Pro provides. OCO has subscribed to numerous news sources and publications over the years and finds the quality of journalism and relevance of content provided by POLITICO to be unmatched.

Market research, including a comparison of previous acquisitions, internet searches, requirement search on General Services Administration (GSA) schedule e-Library, Federal Business Opportunity (FBO) website search, and Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG) search, determined that POLITICO Pro is not available on GSA schedule or through resellers.

But according to a source who knows about the negotiations between the department and Politico, education officials decided the price tag — $25,000 — was too high and Politico’s business office wouldn’t lower the price.

Asked to respond, Massie Ritsch, acting assistant secretary in charge of the  Office of Communications and Outreach, said in an e-mail:

Politico has assembled a team of talented reporters and editors who have quickly contributed news and insight to the ongoing dialogue about education. The Department explored subscribing to Politico Pro but we were unable to negotiate a reasonable price to justify signing up.

The department subscribes to a variety of education trade publications, magazines and newspapers.

Olivia Petersen, director of public relations at Politico, said in an e-mail:

There is no set pricing for any type of POLITICO Pro subscription, as rates vary according to the needs and interests of the potential subscriber.

In a second e-mail she said:

POLITICO Pro is growing at an incredible speed with almost 1,500 subscribing organizations – we’re getting feedback that Pro is essential to policy professionals, and we hope and believe, that with time, the department or anyone who is currently not a subscriber will come to that conclusion and sign up.

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss · January 29