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Politico’s new owner plans to add staff and launch Paywall

In an interview, Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner said in an interview that the company plans to employ 100 people across its management and editorial staff, and currently employs 900 people in the United States and Europe. He also set out a tentative plan for international promotion, including the intention to publish in several different languages.

Döpfner said he plans to expand Politico’s footsteps both in the United States and abroad by introducing new industry-focused products and services and expanding its reach. He said he hopes Politico’s main news offering, which is now free, will be behind the paywall in the medium term.

He also said that Politico’s staff expects to follow Axel Springer’s overall guiding principles, which are sometimes controversial in German real estate, but in writing to principles like German employees. There is no need to sign a commitment. Principles include, among other things, the right to exist in unified Europe and Israel, and support for a free market economy.

“These values ​​are like a constitution and apply to all of our employees,” says Döpfner. Those who have fundamental problems with any of these principles “should not work very clearly for Axel Springer,” he said.

Dopner said that Politico and Axel Springer’s other US titles are unbiased, nonpartisan coverage, as opposed to activist journalism, which promotes social polarization in the United States and elsewhere. He said he hopes to embody his vision.

Döpfner has led Axel Springer for almost 20 years, taking over what was then a deficit print publisher and turning it into a profitable digital-first publisher. He has built up a personal stake in the company and owns more than 22% of that stake.

“I spent years restructuring, reducing costs, layoffs, managing digital transformation, and creating a new corporate culture,” he said. “But now is the time to focus on growth and investment.”

Launched in 2007, Politico restructured Washington’s coverage with a comprehensive report on politics. Since then, it has paved the way for various industry-centric events and the transition to high-end subscription services (so-called verticals).

Axel Springer owns Europe’s best-selling tabloid, the German newspaper Bild, and the central right-sided large format Die Welt, which currently operates in 40 countries and has a portfolio of media and technology companies. In total, it employs more than 16,000 people. Politico’s deal, previously reported by The Wall Street Journal, valued the company at about $ 1 billion and rounded up recent US shopping. Axel Springer previously purchased Business Insider for about $ 500 million, and Morning Brew is a digital publisher that has focused primarily on business.

“We are gradually evolving the United States into the most important market and growth engine for digital publishing,” said Axel Springer.

Axel Springer believed in anti-periodic growth and hired more than 1,600 people during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, he said. He said that approach would apply to Politico and other US titles. “There are no restructurings, synergies, mergers or cost savings,” he said.

Axel Springer and Politico entered into a joint venture in 2013 to establish Politico Europe, a Brussels-based news business. As part of the deal with Politico announced in August, it has agreed to acquire the entire European entity. Politico’s US and European newsrooms remain separate, Döpfner said.

Axel Springer and Politico said they were looking for a new Politico CEO. Politico founder Robert Allbritton told staff that he would stay as long as Axel Springer wanted to be around him, the journal previously reported. Döpfner will send Jan Bayer, a member of Axel Springer’s board of directors for news media, to Washington to oversee investment in Politico and support the new CEO.

Write in Bojan Pancevski at bojan.pancevski@wsj.com

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Politico’s new owner plans to add staff and launch Paywall

Source link Politico’s new owner plans to add staff and launch Paywall

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