Michael McCutcheon Will Use PolicyMic to Explore the Impossible

It's time to introduce PolicyMic's new politics mastermind Michael McCutcheon. As part of our editors' blog, we introduce each one of our awesome editors, so you can get to know PolicyMic's all-star team. Check out my interview with Chris Miles here, Elena Sheppard here, Sam Meier here, Michael Luciano here, and Alex Marin here.

Feel free to ask Michael more questions in the comments below!

Jake Horowitz (JH): What’s in your daily news diet? What are the sites, blogs, or outlets where you go to get your coverage of politics?

Michael McCutcheon (MM): I read whatever comes through my Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ feeds but don't visit a lot of news sites directly. I "like" Politico, New York TimesAtlanticWall Street JournalHuffington Post, and Weekly Standard, among others. 

Some of the most interesting aspects of a news story aren't contained in the article or video itself, but rather in all of the conversation going on around it. News companies, for the most part, have awful commenting systems. So following the news through social media platforms basically allows you to know the story, but with all the extras.

If you could have the job of one prominent blogger/editor in journalism, who would it be and why?

Honestly, I'd love to do the next generation version of the Charlie Rose show, some sort of interactive, online interview program.

Beyond that, I think Andrew Sullivan and Ezra Klein are awesome because they're writers and journalists that are also influential in political and policy circles, which is cool, to have a bigger impact.

You went to the CUNY Journalism School to study entrepreneurship in the media. What are the biggest takeaways? Will the NY Times ever die out?

The biggest shift, I think, is that for perhaps the first time, we're able to accurately measure what people are interested in reading, viewing, or listening to. I mean, really measure. That's causing an upheaval in media production.

Companies like the New York Times will always be around, but I think the New York Times will continue to diminish as a brand. I could see it becoming more like the Associated Press or Reuters, and basically serve as an information backbone to a larger media industry. Its main clients may become other news organizations rather than individual subscribers.

Where does PolicyMic fit it?

To me, it's somewhere between Facebook and the New York Times. It's a community where the under-recognized, but incredibly valuable opinions of millennials rise to the top. After all, we're the next generation to take over the reigns of American politics and policy, and we're into more than just the latest cat video.

Talk about how you’d like to see PolicyMic’s politics section develop. What are new things we can expect to see from the Politics section in 2013?

As the heat of the 2012 election passes, there are perhaps more interesting and important political discussions to have than just the horse race of an election. We can talk about the direction of the country, what we hope to achieve, and the policies that can get us there.

The politics section will always be a platform for smart opinion, but we'll also be getting creative with more debates, more "open mics," and other ways for community members to engage with the news and each other.

I understand you’re interested in science?

I dig it. Science, technology, and media (outside of politics) are some of my greatest interests. To me, they represent what's possible. The outer bounds of what human society is capable of.

It's a perspective I try to bring to politics as well, to encourage a discussion about not just what's going on now, but what's possible. I think talking about what's possible is almost more important than anything else.

Fill in the blank: The best part about growing up in Seattle is _______. The worst part is ________.

The rain. You guessed it, the rain.

Now, New York City…

New York City is wild. When I first got here, I'd be staring at subway maps, trying to figure out how to get around, while 12-year-old kids that had clearly grown up here were rushing past me. It can be a humbling city.

Tell me about your recent trip to Burma.

Burma, or Myanmar, depending on who you're talking to, is incredible. I was there with my family and we spent a couple days at a beach that's miles long, and on it, there are only a few hotels. The few tourists that were there would go running in the morning and locals, riding oxen, would pass the other way, and tourists and locals alike would just stare at each other, probably wondering, "What the hell are you doing?"

When you’re not PolicyMic’ing, what do you like to do for fun?

Nothing out of the ordinary ... hanging with friends, reading, going for runs. I'm also on about 1,000 newsletters for local culture and music spots, so checking out some weird art exhibit where the artist has built a labyrinth out of discarded Christmas Trees isn't out of the question. After all, it is New York.


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