Axios wants us to read everything in bullet points
“We want to be there first,” he says.
In December 2020, Axios bought The Charlotte Agenda, a profitable newsletter, for nearly $5 million. Following this example, Axios has rolled out the newsletter format in 14 cities, including Atlanta; Charlotte, NC; Nashville; and Philly. By the summer there will be eleven more.
Two local reporters have been hired in each city to run a daily newsletter that’s a mix of original reports and a aggregation of articles from other outlets, said Sara Kehaulani Goo, Axios’ editor-in-chief. (The company recently hired Jamie Stockwell, an assistant national editor for The New York Times, to oversee Axios Local.)
“Even earlier than we expected, we saw that this was successful from a journalistic point of view – we saw high open rates,” Ms. Goo said.
As advertising revenue from local websites increases, some cities are getting a third reporter. Axios Local generated nearly $5 million in revenue last year and has 700,000 subscribers across the 14 cities, a spokeswoman said.
Evan Smith, the executive director of The Texas Tribune, an Austin nonprofit founded in 2009, said he was an early subscriber to Axios Austin and reads it every day. “I draw for them,” he said, but added, “Can you adequately cover the largest cities in America — which Texas has more of than any other state — with two or three reporters?”
Mr VandeHei said Axios is first making sure its local coverage model is sustainable and able to work on a larger scale.
“We’re trying to think about how we can do this in every church in America,” Mr. VandeHei said.
Between the lines
The company has consistently heard from readers wanting to use the newsletter format in their workplaces to get more people reading internal emails, said Jordan Zaslav, general manager of Axios HQ.