Rutgers University

New Politico Editor Traces Her Career Success To Rutgers

37aca4943fce6070212f_32a96c491a953d584e5b_Carrie_hi_res.jpg
Carrie Budoff Brown, who was part of the original team that launched Politico, will take over as editor of the news organization after the election. Credits: Courtesy of Politico
37aca4943fce6070212f_32a96c491a953d584e5b_Carrie_hi_res.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - As Carrie Budoff Brown prepares to take over as editor of Politico, a news organization that has been at the forefront the online reporting revolution, she can trace the roots of her success in journalism back to her time at Rutgers.

During her junior year, Brown was getting ready to spend a semester in Argentina when she went on an assignment for The Daily Targum to cover a Bill Clinton rally during his 1996 reelection campaign.

While waiting in the press area she struck up a conversation with the intern for The New York Times, who was soon leaving her job.  The intern encouraged Brown to apply for the position. It turned out, the Trenton bureau chief preferred to hire interns from state schools to give them a special opportunity, Brown said.

Sign Up for E-News

It was a pivotal moment for Brown. She caught her father on his way to mail in the deposit for her trip and canceled her plans to study abroad. She was awarded the internship and worked at The New York Times in Trenton for a year and a half writing for the now defunct New Jersey Sunday section.

‘’It happened by chance. but it was a wonderful opportunity that opened other doors,’’ said Brown, a 1998 Rutgers graduate. “It was a training-ship and I felt very lucky to do it.’’

Brown didn’t come to Rutgers to study journalism. She grew up in York, Pennsylvania, with parents who were always watching the news and reading newspapers. She was interested in current events but thought she wanted to pursue a career in law. One day in high school she ended up shadowing an attorney who was young and miserable, and hated what he did.

Soon afterwards she was offered an internship at The York Daily Record through a connection she made with a local reporter while writing for her high school newspaper.

“I went into the newsroom of the Daily Record and there were all these young people in their 20s and they all loved being there and loved what they were doing,’’ Brown said. “It was so interesting and fun, and I thought this was a place where people liked what they were doing in contrast with the lawyer who was miserable.’’

But she still wasn’t settled on studying journalism. Brown chose Rutgers, where both her father and sister had gone to school, for its political science department and its location.

“It was between New York and Philadelphia and it was a more urban metropolitan area than I grew up in,’’ Brown said. “I got opportunities at Rutgers I don’t think I would have gotten if I chose any other school.’’

She joined The Targum because she enjoyed reporting which brought her to the moment she finally settled on journalism as a career. She attended an event for student journalists at the White House and made news when she questioned President Clinton about the effect that his Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, which prevented gay men and women from serving openly in the military, was having on college ROTC chapters.

At first, Clinton told her she misunderstood the policy. Brown was mortified and thought she was through with journalism forever.

But after the press conference, Clinton spoke to Brown and apologized. He admitted he didn’t understand her question and may have answered incorrectly. Other reporters wrote stories about their exchange.

“On the way home people told me I stumped him, I got the president to say something, and that is what journalism is,’’ Brown said. “I thought this is cool, you can ask the president of the United States a question and he is forced to answer you and it has an impact.”

A few years after graduation, Brown started working at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she got her first taste of writing for the web.

In 2006, she covered a recount for a Pennsylvania House of Representatives seat that would determine the balance of power in the state government. She decided to write a blog and was surprised by the response.

“It showed me the power of web-based journalism, that waiting until morning to publish something is ridiculous,’’ Brown said. “It’s more satisfying to tell people the news in real time. It’s addictive.’’

The experience showed her the direction journalism was headed and inspired her to pursue a job at Politico when the website launched in 2007.

“I knew because I had this real-life experience that the idea of waiting 12-hours to publish something was not going to last and there was a wide open space to jump into and do journalism that was fast and fun and connected to people,’’ Brown said.

At Politico, Brown covered the fight over Obamacare and became a Twitter sensation overseas when she posted never-before-seen pictures of King Abdullah and the royal palace during a trip to Saudi Arabia with President Obama. She gained thousands of new Twitter followers in a matter of hours because she had access in a country where the release of information is tightly controlled.

“I didn’t realize at the time that Saudi Arabia has the highest penetration of Twitter users in the world,’’ Brown said. “People were writing stories about me and people were coming to my hotel to try to find me. It was an amazing and strange experience into the power of social media.’’

In 2014, Brown moved to Brussels to launch Politico’s European newsroom and guided coverage of Great Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. She was recently tapped to take over the helm of the groundbreaking news organization starting after the Nov. 8 election.

She said the lessons she learned at Rutgers continue to guide her career choices and decision to stay in the news business.

“I’ve thought about leaving journalism many times but think I would never have any other job where I would have as much flexibility and work around people who are very smart and engaged and invested in the idea that journalism is important,’’ Brown said.

“I learned that over my years at Rutgers because of all the opportunities I got while I was there and afterwards,’’ she said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - February 16, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

E STREET - While a tired nation is demanding gun control (yet again), Springsteen guitarist Stevie Van Zandt is having none of it. No stranger to political opinions, the New Jersey icon tweeted "What happened to us? We are averaging 2 school shootings per week AND WE DO NOTHING ABOUT IT!" Many tone-deaf politicians on Capitol Hill ...

The Jaffe Briefing - January 15, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

TRENTON - As state lawmakers are set to announce a bill at 11 a.m. to decriminalize pot - an issue that has consumed the Statehouse -  the Record is reporting on an often-ignored issue: the state's ridiculously antiquated liquor laws. For example, supermarkets in the state can only have up to two liquor licenses, stemming ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 14, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ON AIR - Gov. Phil Murphy had his very first "Ask the Governor" monthly program last night. He appeared on News 12 New Jersey to field your questions about all things New Jersey. Impossible to recap an hour segment. Of course, we will try: New Jersey should be a better place to retire. The state pension mess will be solved.

The Jaffe Briefing - February 13, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ON THE RAILS - Perhaps Donald Trump is still ticked that New Jerseyans had no interest in his team, the New Jersey Generals, which played football in the now-defunct USFL. Or, perhaps he is angry we didn't frequent his now-defunct casinos in Atlantic City. Or, perhaps he is seeking revenge for the fact that 546,345 more New Jerseyans voted for ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 12, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ON THE RAILS - Anyone who commutes by train should be laser focused on Donald Trump today. Not to capture the latest buffoonery, but because the President is unveiling his long-awaited infrastructure plan. Will this "master of the deal" step up and deliver the $15 billion of so that was promised for the Gateway Tunnel project? Or will he play ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 9, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

LEONIA - You can't make everyone happy. That's the message for Leonia officials, who solved one issue, and are now dealing with another. First, they appeased residents by blocking George Washington Bridge traffic from heading down 60 local streets. But now, as the Record reports, local businesses are breathing fire because, well, the ...

Don’t Blame Hurricanes for Most Big Storm Surges in Northeast

February 16, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Hurricanes spawn most of the largest storm surges in the northeastern U.S., right? Wrong, according to a study by Rutgers University–New Brunswick scientists.

Extratropical cyclones, including nor’easters and other non-tropical storms, generate most of the large storm surges in the Northeast, according to the study in the Journal of ...

Criminal Charges for Rutgers Student Protesters From $15 Min. Wage Campaign

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Police have issued charges to a dozen of the Rutgers University student activists who disrupted a public meeting in December.

The students, from the Rutgers chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops, disrupted the Dec. 12 Board of Trustees meeting as part of their campaign for a university-wide $15 minimum wage.

As the meeting started, students pushed through a rope ...

Rutgers-New Brunswick to Exhibit Papers of Sen. Frank Lautenberg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey’s longest-serving U.S. senator, left an outsize imprint on state politics and national policy by the time he died while in office, in 2013.

His papers, now curated and maintained by the Rutgers University Libraries, encompass 2,250 boxes of hats, buttons, campaign stickers, vinyl records, paper documents and other artifacts that, laid end ...

Verizon Features Vets4Warriors on FiOS 1 News

February 12, 2018

Fatima Aguilar’s first day on the job at Vets4Warriors was anything but normal. A military veteran serving as a Second Lieutenant with the New Jersey National Guard, she found herself in a potential suicide crisis situation as soon as she hit the phones.

“I started around three and a half years ago on the overnight shift, and my very first call was a US Marine veteran who was on a ...

OPINION

Letter to the Editor: Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

February 15, 2018

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

Somerset Patriots Sign Frontier League All-Star RHP Randy McCurry

February 17, 2018

The Somerset Patriots have announced the signing of right-handed relief pitcher Randy McCurry for the 2018 season.

“I’m excited to play in the Atlantic League this year,” said McCurry. “It’ll be a transition for me but I am ready to face some really good competition and help the team win.”

McCurry enters his first season with the Somerset Patriots and ...