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Project Veritas and the mainstream media are strange allies in the fight to protect press freedom
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Jan. 15, 2021, 11:20 a.m.
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LINK: www.axios.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Sarah Scire   |   January 15, 2021

Axios debuted an “audience Bill of Rights” Friday that makes a series of promises to its readers, ranging from “we will never have an opinion section” to “no games” when it comes to data and privacy.

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Axios’ first paid product will be teaching corporations — through a $10,000 platform — how to adopt the news organization’s bulleted, just-the-facts structure. The “Bill of Rights,” naturally, is written in that characteristic, eminently-scannable style:

Why it matters: Nothing matters more than winning the war for truth. Here are the promises we are making to our readers, viewers and listeners.

Axios CEO Jim VandeHei wrote that the release was timed to the outlet’s expansion into local news and a broadening of their mission to include “help[ing] restore trust in fact-based news.”

VandeHei told me they’ve been working on the Bill of Rights for the past few months but that — with the exception of No. 7 (“We are committed to helping revive local journalism — and invite local readers to help us best serve their community.”) — they reflect longstanding beliefs rather than brand-new policies. The site, founded in 2017 by VandeHei and his former Politico journalists Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz, has launched “Axios Local” newsletters covering Tampa-St. Petersburg, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, Des Moines, and (with last month’s acquisition of Charlotte Agenda) Charlotte.

With reader-generated revenue becoming more central to many publishers’ business models as Covid-19 accelerates an already grim advertising outlook, the promise to eschew a paywall and provide “free access to the majority” of Axios content jumped out.

We will be transparent about how we make money, and provide clear ways for you to tell us how we can better serve you…

We believe high-quality journalism should not be an exclusive privilege. We will provide free access to the majority of our content.

Another item from the Bill of Rights reiterates the organization’s “editorial manifesto” and notes Axios employees are “asked to refrain from taking/advocating for public positions on political topics.” The text was shared with the full staff, who were encouraged to give input, before it was made public, VandeHei said. You can read the full statement here.

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