Congressional Quarterly – Nelson Poynter
Poynter was born into a newspaper family. At nine years of age, Nelson’s father purchased the St. Petersburg Times1 and moved the family to Florida. Years later, after earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics from Indiana University and Yale University, Poynter pursued a career in journalism. “There never was any question what my career would be. Journalism was in my blood from childhood.”2
Together with his wife Henrietta, Poynter founded Congressional Quarterly in 1945 upon the premise that Americans should readily understand the real-life implications of their government. Poynter planned to achieve his goal by providing local newspapers around the country with in-depth information about congressional activity, which in turn could be used by newspapers to inform their reporting and educate their readers. He summed up the reasons for founding CQ, saying “The federal government will never set up an adequate agency to check on itself, and a foundation is too timid for that. So it had to be a private enterprise beholden to its clients.”3
Today CQ provides authoritative, nonpartisan and accurate congressional news and legislative tracking tools to its subscribers. Often called the “publication of record” on Congress, CQ offers more than 40 print and online products that keep readers updated on a weekly, daily and real-time basis.
Home to CQ’s suite of online subscription-based products, CQ.com is the only service that covers every legislative action in Congress with breaking news, bill tracking, member profiles and much more. CQ Weekly offers insight on the people and institutions that influence public policy and legislation. It helps readers understand how legislation is shaped, who is shaping it and how the process could affect their interests. News and Schedules on CQ.com provides timely, comprehensive coverage of legislative activity, including intelligence from the House and Senate floors, committee markups and congressional hearings.
Roll Call – Sid Yudain
Sid Yudain also came from a newspaper family. His passion for journalism drove him to establish numerous newspapers throughout his career, beginning with the one he started in elementary school. When he began working at a Stamford, Conn. radio station as a young adult, Sid created an in-house newspaper for the staff. Later, during a stint in the Army, Yudain founded a newspaper for the California-based gun battery in which he served, and then established another at a Van Nuys hospital where he was treated for a broken nose. But it was during his tenure as press secretary for family friend Rep. Albert P. Morano (R-Conn.) that Yudain launched Roll Call, his most significant enterprise, on a budget of $90.
Yudain was less interested in telling the story of laws passing through Congress and more interested in telling the stories of the people and personalities on Capitol Hill. “When I came to Congress it just seemed that this was the most important community in the world,” Yudain recalled. “The only news coming out of Congress was about legislation,” he continued, “which bored me, and I think bored most people, including some of the Congressmen.”4
Today Roll Call, widely considered the newspaper of Capitol Hill, provides news and information that is considered indispensable for members of Congress and their staff. Roll Call delivers breaking congressional news and behind-the-scenes intelligence on the people, politics and personalities of Capitol Hill. In addition to breaking news, readers get keen insight from such respected Washington analysts as Morton Kondracke, Stuart Rothenberg and Norman Ornstein, plus political coverage of congressional elections in every state in the Union.
Capitol Advantage – Robert Hansan
Though Hansan’s father had long been involved in Ohio politics, Bob Hansan’s success stemmed not from family connections but from business savvy and a willingness to take risks. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1986, he shifted his focus from the longer-term (Hansan had considered a career in law) to launching his own startup. Encouraged by his brother who worked for a printer, he decided to publish a directory of members of Congress and sell it to trade associations as a kind of party favor.5 Bolstered by hard-work and family support, the directories business began to thrive.
The advent of the Internet some ten years later posed a significant new challenge to Hansan’s print-focused enterprise. He rose to the challenge by developing an online equivalent of his directories with data extending down to the local level. Soon after, he improved his innovation by adding a zip code look-up function through which constituents could identify and contact their government officials. Hansan believed he had a responsibility to empower the American people to contact their representatives. “We are very committed to making sure that people have an opportunity to have their say,” Hansan said.
Today Capitol Advantage has grown into the nation’s largest publisher of congressional directories, and the leading provider of Internet tools for grassroots mobilization and congressional relationship management. With Engage (which became part of VoterVoice) and Knowlegis, more than 1,800 organizations achieve legislative success by influencing federal and state policymakers. In 2009 alone, Engage delivered more than 25 million constituent messages to lawmakers. Congress At Your Fingertips congressional directories are regarded as the most reliable guide to members of Congress. Known on the Hill as “the face books” and consistently ranked on the Washington Post’s Non-Fiction bestseller list, these directories provide an easy-to-use reference guide of who’s who in Congress.
- 1. Hart, W. Stephen. “Biography of Nelson Poynter.” Depauw University, Summer 1981. Web. 17 Mar 2010. <http://www.depauw.edu/library/archives/ijhof/inductees/poyntern.htm>.
- 2. “A Biography of Nelson Poynter.” Nelson Poynter Library Information. University of South Florida, n.d. Web. 17 Mar 2010. <http://www.nelson.usf.edu/info/biography.html>.
- 3. “Congressional Quarterly.” Wikipedia. 2010. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 17 Mar 2010 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_Quarterly>.
- 4. Yachnin, Jennifer. “Sid Yudain, the Man Who Started It All.” Roll Call 16 Jun. 2005, Print.
- 5. Birnbaum, Jeffrey. “Hansan Holds E-Advocacy Advantage.” Washington Post 24 January 2005: E01. Print.