We had to mention this, particularly in light of what our most recent guest has said about the potential to expand into new territories. Long story short, Axios has plans for its local newsletter team to eventually match its core newsroom in terms of staff numbers. It currently has 30 to 40 people total, and Nicholas Johnston, Axios’ publisher told Digiday the teams will “grow as the audience grows and revenue grows… rather than go in and hire really large teams and just burn through cash quicker.”
Axios Local is planned to be in a total of 25 markets this time next year, according to Williams. What struck me as interesting is the approach to deciding which cities should receive the newsletters, which is based much more on which beats are particularly hot in that city rather than just because it’s a major population centre. It speaks to the idea that Axios sees each city as one node in a larger network, rather than a market in its own right.
Our guest this week, Joshi Herrmann of the Manchester Mill, believes the latter is a better model – for subscription-based newsletters at least: “Local publications should be reporting on their areas and stories that have a bearing on their areas. And those stories should be unique to their areas. If those stories are suddenly popping up on loads of other sites in a slightly rewritten form, inevitably, the next time you turn up on the website and see that, you’re going to be a little bit less interested in, a little bit less connected to that publication.”
On last week’s episode of the podcast we spoke about the revelation from the recent Facebook leaks that the company’s own research showed it was toxic for teenage girls. Now Facebook has hit back the WSJ for the leaks – though it admits it is partially right in some areas and has paused the rollout of its ‘Instagram for Kids’ product. Good.
This is a totally bizarre one, though given the Ozy Media name is attached to the story you should be expecting something a little bit dodgy at best. Samir Rao, its co-founder, reportedly impersonated a YouTube exec on a call with Goldman Sachs ahead of a $40M deal, and the FBI are now investigating. No word yet on if he inhaled helium to disguise his voice.
In the UK the path into journalism has had the lower rungs of the ladder kicked out by the dwindling number of local titles. In the US the NYT is grappling with a similar issue – and has launched this new scheme to deal with it and foster more diversity among reporters.
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