More than six months in the making, The Capitolist website and smartphone app (available now on Apple iTunes and Google Play) takes a hybrid approach to provide a one-stop-shopping experience for Florida’s political news consumers. Content on The Capitolist lies somewhere between Sayfie Review’s excellent smorgasbord of carefully-collected editorials, curated news stories, and automated legacy media blog posts, and Florida Politics’ non-stop flamethrower of political stories from every conceivable corner of the Sunshine State.
The Capitolist aggregates digital political media: all the legacy news blogs, plus every other regular online political player in the business. FloridaPolitics.com? Got it. POLITICO’s Playbook Florida by Marc Caputo? It’s in the app. Peter Schorsch’s must-read Sunburn? Yep. It’s linked on the “Morning Briefings” tab in the app if you missed his morning email. All the blogs from the major news outlets like the Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Times, Orlando Sentinel and the rest? They’re here. So are a few others you might not know about – but you’ll see when they post an infrequent story and you check the Breaking News feed.
We also have our own, original content. The team is led by experienced political writer Sarah Rumpf. I first met her back in 2011 when she was an intrepid blogger still living in Florida, before she ran off to Texas, did a stint with Breitbart News, and made a name for herself on Twitter and elsewhere in the digital sphere. She has fantastic sources here in the Sunshine State, and I was thrilled when she agreed to join The Capitolist as editor-at-large. She’s got a nose for news, she’s a great writer, and if you have a scoop, contact her. She’s literally the backbone of The Capitolist’s original content operation. Sarah will be backed up by Dennis Ragosta, a young, up-and-coming writer and communicator, and of course, by me. We’ll also feature guest writers from time to time, including Steve Schale, Christian Camara and others. I can’t thank them enough for their feedback and willingness to help.
The concept of The Capitolist was born in late December 2015, after dozens of conversations with friends and fellow political consultants, each of whom contributed a variety of ideas, advice and feedback along the way. Over those six months, the project evolved, new components were added, certain ideas scrapped, and the name changed several times (if anyone wants to buy every possible spelling or misspelling of “CapitalFrontpage.com,” .net and .org, let me know. I’ll unload those domains, cheap).
Over these past few months, I’ve hired developers in Tallahassee, outsourced custom work to a team of very talented Bulgarians, gotten graphic design help from Lynne Takacs at LAT Creative (she’s based right here in town and created The Capitolist’s awesome logo), and hired people on fiverr.com to do some quick and dirty custom work just to get this project off the ground. I’ve pushed the launch date back a half-dozen times, and then, after all that, found out I had to wait on Apple’s iTunes to approve some new screen shots of The Capitolist app (no, they’re still not approved yet, but we’re launching anyway).
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t thank my close friend Brian Hughes, who helped me land on my feet back in mid-2013 when I didn’t know Tallahassee very well. Without his help and connections over the past few years, I’d never have gotten to the point professionally or financially where I felt comfortable enough to launch a separate project like this on my own.
Starting this new venture has been equal parts exciting and exhausting. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned along the way, it’s that perfect is the enemy of good. My closest friends have advised me to just get the product out there, because I can always adjust along the way. This has been invaluable advice…so if you find bugs or flaws in the product, just let me know. My goal is for The Capitolist to be your gateway to all of Florida’s political news and information. If there are flaws in the product, please tell me. If there are features you’d like to see, share that with me and I’ll look into adding that to the app or website.
There are three things that are essential to the success of The Capitolist: readers, sources, and sponsors. By virtue of you reading this, I owe you a big thank you for being a part of the launch of The Capitolist. Now, please, bookmark the site, download the app, and start sending us some scoops!