A Washington Posting

May 2, 2005  •  Post A Comment

One of the beat’s good guys is joining the Bush administration. Kevin Sullivan, who just last year was promoted to senior VP of communications at NBC Universal in New York after having headed sports and Olympics PR for four years, is off to D.C., where he is in line to be assistant secretary of education for communications and outreach. The president’s intent to nominate him was posted last week, the day after Mr. Sullivan’s new boss, Margaret Spellings, was profiled on the front page of The New York Times.

Though Mr. Sullivan is on the job today, he’s on consultant status until he’s confirmed by the Senate.

Check local C-SPAN5 listings for hearing time?

“C-SPAN12,” replied Mr. Sullivan, who also spent 18 years with the Dallas Mavericks.

The Insider tried to connect Mr. Sullivan’s need to pass political muster with NBC’s decision, after 10 years of refusing to do so, to put content labels on its programming and with NBC News, after hours of not choosing to do so, deciding to carry the presidential press conference, the scheduling of which threw the opening night of sweeps into disarray.

Mr. Sullivan wasn’t going to go there. But he is going to Washington, and his wife and four kids will follow at the end of June.

He’ll be missed … by colleagues and by The Insider, who, when she first heard Mr. Sullivan’s big news, stammered that she’d never, ever suspected he might possibly have even a little streak of Republican in him. He understood that it was a compliment.

Inside CNN ‘Politics’

The status of Judy Woodruff and “Inside Politics” has been the subject of rumors during more than one recent CNN administration, but after the “Inside Politics” anchor’s announcement last week that she will leave CNN this summer, CNN/U.S. President Jonathan Klein said: “I can’t speak for the folks who came before me, but boy, I really want her to be an important part of our coverage.

“We are going to miss her not only as a first-class newswoman but a first-class person. You can’t replace a person like that. I’m glad she’s going to play at least an occasional role on our air over the next few years.”

Ms. Woodruff will be a contributor to and consultant for CNN through the 2008 elections, but the news that she will get out of daily journalism came “in the midst of our planning for the revamp of our political coverage [and means] we’re just going to have to factor Judy’s absence into that equation,” Mr. Klein said. He added that news about the changes is likely due “probably within a couple of months.”

“What we’ve done is throw down the challenge to our political producers to come up with a new way of covering politics that matches the many new realities of politics. You know the blogging and the values vote and direct marketing and even fears about personal safety and homeland security have all changed the political landscape 180 degrees, and yet the mainstream media is still covering politics the way it has for the last 30 to 40 years since the Kennedy-Nixon debate. So we’ve got to come up with new forms. We’re going to take our time and make sure that we select the best approach for us,” he said.

In the meantime, though The Insider will mourn the end of the 12-year Woodruff era at CNN, she hopes that this will mean only better things at CNN for political pro Candy Crowley.

“I love Candy,” Mr. Klein said. “Candy’s such a great reporter and storyteller. So was Theodore White. So it’s good company …”

Whaddaya think, dear, perspicacious and faithful readers? In the mood for a “We want Candy” petition? Drop an e-line to mgreppi@crain.com and let The Insider’s pharmaceutically altered ego know.