New Politico Editor Traces Her Career Success To Rutgers

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

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.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Valeski: Placing Police Officers in Schools was Planned for Two Years

February 21, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - In the midst of a media firestorm today, Dr. Victor Valeski, East Brunswick Superintendent of Schools, fielded questions from local and national journalists regarding the placement of armed police officers inside each of the district's K-12 buildings.  The move seemed to many as a "knee-jerk" reaction to the fear generated by the massacre of ...


Christina C. Sweet (Diaz) 79 years, died Monday January 1, 2017 at Robert Wood Johnson University ...
Read more
- Nov 15, 2017
Phillip A. Petracca, also widely known as Filippo Neri in the Italian-American Radio and ...
Read more

Wreath Laying for Local Vietnam Hero Lost 50 Years Ago Today Held in Piscataway

February 18, 2018

Childhood friends of Soldier & Family Join Mayor Brian C. Wahler, Township Councilmembers, RU Army ROTC Cadets, Local American Legion & Lake Nelson Residents Today at Park Named After Veteran

PISCATAWAY, NJ – On Feb. 18th, the 50th anniversary of the passing of Jeffrey R. Byrne, a Piscataway-raised 19-year-old who died serving in Vietnam, childhood friends of him and his family ...

South Plainfield Middle School Student Council Thanks Supporters

The South Plainfield Middle School Student Council would like to express our thanks for the support of local businesses and organizations in our fundraising efforts.  A spaghetti dinner was hosted by the South Plainfield Elks Lodge #2298 on January 13th.  Mrs. Sharon Reuter and members of her Youth Committee and kitchen crew provided dinner for family, friends and staff of South ...

RU's Heatter Earns Big Ten Freshman of the Week

PISCATAWAY, NJ - After a memorable collegiate debut, Eric Heatter of the Rutgers baseball team earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week in an announcement from the league office on Monday. The left-handed pitcher struck out eight in four shutout innings of relief to beat a nationally-ranked Miami squad in the series finale.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Eric,” ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, February 22, 12:00 PM

American Legion, South Plainfield

Boy Scout Troop 207 Spaghetti Dinner

Food & Drink

Sat, February 24, 2:00 PM

Edison High School Auditorium, Edison

Free community viewing of "BAG IT" - Award ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

St. David's Episcopal Church, Cranbury

Organizing for the 2018 Mid-terms: Elections, ...

Education Giving Back Government


Tue, February 27, 7:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

“Olmsted By Design!” Free First-Person, Dramatic ...

Arts & Entertainment Green Home & Garden

Thu, March 1, 7:00 PM

Piscataway Public Library, PISCATAWAY

Empowerment for the Job Search

Business & Finance

Breaking News: Elizabeth Schools Report One Student Has Died from Flu Virus

February 19, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Elizabeth School District has reported that one student has died from Influenza (Flu).

“It is with great sadness that I must report to you that the Elizabeth School District has lost one of its own,”  Elizabeth Superintendent of Schools Olga Hugelmeyer wrote in a letter to parents over the weekend. The Superintendents letter is ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

Guest Column

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  


The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...

The Best Way to Pay Your Child a Compliment

“Of course you’re good-looking.”  “You’re the best friend ever.”  “Who wouldn’t want you on their team?”  Is there a parent out there (including me) who hasn’t praised a child in order to make him or her feel better?  Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes we say it because we just can’t stand to see them ...

Height during childhood associated with increased stroke risk in adulthood

Researchers in Denmark studied the health records of more than 300,000 people born between 1930 and 1989 and found that those who were shorter than average height between ages 7 and 13 had a greater risk of stroke as adults. The results of this study were published in the February 15, 2018 issue of the journal Stroke.


Journal ...

Very Hot Tea Increases Cancer Risk

Researchers in China studying the consumption of “burning” hot tea, alcohol, and smoking habits of greater than 450,000 people ages 30 –79 for more than nine years found a five time greater risk of esophageal cancer in those who engaged in all three of the behaviors and a two time greater risk in those who either smoked or drank alcohol and consumed burning hot tea as compared ...