Seamus Dowdall standing in staircase
Photo: James Kegley
On the
Politico Path
Seamus Dowdall ’17 gains a foothold in the D.C. arena
by Matt Zencey
Seamus Dowdall ’17 has some advice for Bucknell students who see Washington D.C., as an unsavory place to pursue a career: Cast aside those preconceptions and c’mon down.

Sure, there’s a reason it’s called “the swamp,” but D.C., he says, is a place where passionate young people can make a difference in the world and have fun in the process.

Coming out of Bucknell, Dowdall landed a job at Politico, a relatively new media outlet that’s become an insider’s indispensable guide to what’s really going on in Congress and the White House. He credits fellow Bucknell alumni with helping him get his foot in the door there.

Dowdall works on the business side, serving clients who pay substantial subscription fees for specialized political information. It’s giving him a close look at some of the new ways that good journalism can be delivered despite the huge economic changes that have upended old ways of doing business. As an economics and political science major, Dowdall took a particular interest in the economic challenges facing the media industry.

“We’re in a very revolutionary time in how politics is covered,” he says. “Media are being transformed.”

Ideally, Dowdall would like to switch to the journalism side of the business.

“We’re seeing a dangerous rejection of what’s truthful,” he says, and he wants to be part of challenging that trend, which he sees as harmful to our democracy.

When he landed in Washington, Dowdall didn’t go far from his roots. He grew up in the suburb of Silver Spring, Md., where he got an early start following politics and the media. In ninth grade, he started writing for his school paper, and he kept a hand in student journalism through his college years, writing many opinion pieces for The Bucknellian.

Dowdall calls D.C. “America’s largest small town.” He says 35 people from his Bucknell class are there, and they see each other a lot.

Despite its tawdry reputation as the epicenter of all that’s wrong in American politics today, “D.C. is a great city to be in,” Dowdall says. “I 100-percent recommend it.”