Axios (website)

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Axios logo (2020).svg
Axios screenshot (September 2020).png
Axios' homepage on September 3, 2020
Type of site
Available inEnglish
OwnerAxios Media Inc.
Key people
Launched2017; 4 years ago (2017)
Current statusActive

Axios is an American news website based in Arlington County, Virginia. It was founded in 2016 and launched the following year by former Politico journalists Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz. The site's name is based on the Greek: ἄξιος (áxios), meaning "worthy".[1]

Axios's articles are typically brief and matter-of-fact: most are shorter than 300 words and use bullet points so they are easier to scan. In addition to news articles, Axios produces daily and weekly industry-specific newsletters (including Allen's Axios AM, a successor to his popular Playbook newsletter for Politico),[1] two daily podcasts and a documentary news series on HBO.


VandeHei said he wanted Axios to be a "mix between The Economist and Twitter".[2] The company initially covered a mix of business, politics, technology, health care, and media. VandeHei said Axios would focus on the "collision between tech and areas such as bureaucracy, healthcare, energy, and the transportation infrastructure".[1] At launch, Nicholas Johnston, a former managing editor at Bloomberg L.P., was named editor-in-chief.[3]

In the summer of 2016, Axios secured $10 million in a round of financing led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures. Backers include media-partner NBC News, Laurene Powell Jobs' Emerson Collective, Greycroft Partners, and David and Katherine Bradley, owners of Atlantic Media.[1] The company had raised $30 million as of November 2017.[4][5] It planned to focus on "business, technology, politics, and media trends".[1] Axios generates revenue through short-form native advertising and sponsored newsletters.[6] It earned more than $10 million in revenue in its first seven months.[4] Its advertisers include Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries.[undue weight? ][7]

In January 2017, Axios hired as an executive vice president Evan Ryan, the assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs and a former staffer for Vice President Joe Biden.[8] As of March 2017, the company said it had 60 employees with 40 working in editorial.[7] Axios had 6 million visitors in September 2017, according to comScore. As of November 2017, Axios said it had 200,000 subscribers to 11 newsletters, with an average open rate of 52%. The same month, it said it would use a new $20 million investment to expand data analysis, product development, fund audience growth, and increase staff to 150, up from 89.[4]

In March and April 2019, HuffPost and Wired reported that Axios had paid a firm to improve its reputation by lobbying for changes to the Wikipedia articles on Axios and Jonathan Swan.[9][10]

In July 2020, Axios received $4.8 million in federal loans from the Paycheck Protection Program for salary replacement during the COVID-19 pandemic. It later returned the money, with VandeHei explaining that the loans had become "politically polarizing".[11] In September 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported that Axios was on track to be profitable in 2020 "despite the economic turmoil stemming from the coronavirus that led to broad layoffs and pay cuts at many media outlets."[12]

In May 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported that merger discussions between Axios and The Athletic had ended, with The Athletic opting to pursue a deal with The New York Times.[13]


Axios's content is designed for digital platforms, such as Facebook and Snapchat, as well as its own website.[1] Reporters have made appearances on television news on NBC News and MSNBC through a deal with NBC.[3] Its NBC Universal partnership has featured co-founder Mike Allen on its show Morning Joe.[14][15] Content is distributed via newsletters covering politics, technology, healthcare, and other subjects. Among the newsletters is a daily report by Allen, who formerly wrote Politico's Playbook newsletter.[1] Typical articles are shorter than 300 words.[16]

In 2018 the literary magazine n+1's editors identified Axios as an example of a new style of writing that "is simultaneously careful and strident, low-key and declarative" in order to cater to impatient readers. They wrote, "Axios, whose name is a cross between a defense contractor and an aggressive men's deodorant, has dispensed with everything but theses and bullet points."[17] According to a 2020 Knight Foundation study, Axios is generally read by a moderate audience, leaning slightly toward the left.[18]

Axios on HBO[edit]

A documentary series based on the website's reporting, also titled Axios (sometimes disambiguated as Axios on HBO), began airing on HBO in the United States and internationally on November 4, 2018.[19] The program primarily features interviews with political and business figures in the news and is a co-production of Axios Media, HBO Documentary Films, and DCTV. Initially airing on Sunday evenings in blocks of four consecutive weeks once or twice a year, the program temporarily switched to year-round biweekly production, airing on Monday nights, in April 2020,[20] before returning to its previous schedule in 2021.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Ellison, Sarah (November 30, 2016). "Exclusive: Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei Reveal Their Plan for Media Domination". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on December 4, 2018. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  2. ^ Shephard, Alex (May 2, 2017). "Axios and Donald Trump Are Made For Each Other". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Alpert, Lukas I. (September 6, 2016). "Politico Co-Founder Jim VandeHei to Launch News Venture for Professionals". The Wall Street Journal. New York. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Mullin, Benjamin (November 17, 2017). "Axios Raises $20 Million to Fund Newsroom Expansion". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  5. ^ Shephard, Alex (May 2, 2017). "Axios and Donald Trump Are Made For Each Other". New Republic. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  6. ^ Sutton, Kelsey (November 20, 2018). "Why Axios Is Betting Big on Native Content, Sponsored Events and Branded Newsletters". AdWeek. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Fox, Emily Jane (March 14, 2017). "Exclusive: Axios Has Another Trick Up Its Sleeve". Vanity Fair. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  8. ^ Fox, Emily Jane (January 3, 2017). "Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen Bring on Washington Insiders to Help Run Axios". The Hive. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  9. ^ Feinberg, Ashley (March 14, 2019). "Facebook, Axios And NBC Paid This Guy To Whitewash Wikipedia Pages". HuffPost. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  10. ^ Cohen, Noam (April 7, 2019). "Want to Know How to Build a Better Democracy? Ask Wikipedia". Wired. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  11. ^ Farhi, Paul (April 29, 2020). "Axios returns coronavirus bailout loan as news organizations grapple with the ethics of taking government funds". Washington Post. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  12. ^ Alpert, Lukas (September 30, 2020). "Axios Is Growing and Profitable Despite Bleak News Landscape". The Wall Street Journal. New York.
  13. ^ Mullin, Benjamin (May 6, 2021). "The Athletic Halts Merger Talks With Axios, Eyes New York Times". The Wall Street Journal.
  14. ^ Wemple, Erik (January 24, 2017). "NBC boosts Axios out of the gate". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  15. ^ "Mike Allen: Axios Is For What You Would Talk About With Your "Smart Friend"". Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  16. ^ Dillet, Romain (November 17, 2017). "Media startup Axios raises another $20 million". TechCrunch. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  17. ^ "The New Reading Environment". n+1 (32). 2018.
  18. ^ "American Views 2020: Trust, Media and Democracy" (PDF). Knight Foundation. November 9, 2020. p. 57.
  19. ^ ""Axios," Four-Part Limited Series from HBO Documentary Films and the Groundbreaking New Media Company, Debuts Nov. 4". The Futon Critic. October 9, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  20. ^ "Documentary News Series "Axios" Expands Its 2020 Season, Returning Monday April 27". The Futon Critic. April 24, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2020.

External links[edit]