Axios has recently launched paid newsletters in some of its 14 local markets, reports Nieman Lab. There is not a set cost for a membership, but readers are asked to contribute between $50 and $500 per year which is automatically renewable on the member’s initial enrollment date. In exchange, members will get exclusive quarterly newsletters from Axios Local reporters. Members “may” also get access to any members-only events and birthday shout-outs. Axios is not a non-profit organization, so contributions are not tax deductible.
Axios wants people to become members to support local journalism, not because of the benefits they’ll get for their membership.
“We believe high-quality journalism should not be an exclusive privilege. Membership revenue helps keep our reporting free and available to the entire community,” says Axios on the Axios Denver membership page. “We exist to help local readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news and developments unfolding in their own backyards. Membership revenue helps fund our local newsroom.”
Axios local markets
The markets Axios currently has a local presence include the following (as of October 5, 2021), though not all of these markets have paid newsletters yet.
- Des Moines
- Northwest Arkansas
- Tampa Bay
- Twin Cities
- Washington, D.C.
According to Nieman Lab, Axios Local has about 400,000 daily newsletter subscribers in 14% cities and their emails have an open rate of approximately 35%.
To get an idea of the content Axios Local produces, you can visit any of the Axios Local sites through the newsletters page. Axios Atlanta allows readers to see a preview of articles they might see. Yesterday, for example, the newsletter was 829 words which is about a 3-minute read (no, we didn’t count the words – Axios did that for us).
It included a “1 big thing” story on immigrant voices discussing redistricting and articles on underground Atlanta’s artist takeover, the photo of the day, Spanx sold off a majority stake and loggerhead turtles. It is a short, sweet summary of Axios Atlanta’s top stories of the day. The stories aren’t particularly meaty and are not indicative of what a subscriber would receive in their quarterly newsletters. Readers can choose their local market from the list above and subscribe to daily newsletters which are free. The paid quarterly newsletters are different altogether.
Paid newsletters are the shiny new toy, and independent platforms like Substack aren’t the only ones using them. Newspapers are getting creative and going to audiences who they know want their content and who support local journalism. It looks like Axios is just getting this off the ground, but they have an interesting, easy-to-read style that is likely to appeal to a range of readers, but particularly young readers. What we like about this model is that they are being up front – we want to keep our journalism free. Support us – in whatever amount you feel is appropriate – so we can keep it free for everyone.