Facebook to Add Video News Section Ahead of 2018 Midterm Elections

Facebook is preparing to add a video news section to its Watch tab later this year, TheWrap has confirmed.

The social network is looking to partner with about 10 publishers to create native news content, with a rollout set for this summer. News clips will be at least three-minutes long and will be featured within a dedicated tab on Watch. Axios was first to report the story on Tuesday morning.

“Timely news video is the latest step in our strategy to make targeted investments in new types of programming on Facebook Watch,”  Campbell Brown, Facebook’s global head of news partnerships, said in a statement to TheWrap. “As part of our broader effort to support quality news on Facebook, we plan to meet with a wide-range of potential partners to develop, learn and innovate on news programming tailored to succeed in a social environment. Our early conversations have been encouraging, and we’re excited about the possibilities ahead.”

Also Read: Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg on #MeToo: ‘Not Harassing Us Is Important, but Basic’

The move comes as Facebook has been recalibrating its approach to news. Earlier this year, Facebook shifted its News Feed algorithm to feature more local stories. “There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post announcing the decision. Facebook is looking to “prioritize news that is trustworthy, informative, and local,” added Zuckerberg. To this point, short-form reality shows, rather than hard news, have been the backbone of Facebook Watch.

Facebook has been under fire for its inability to weed out misinformation — some funded by Kremlin-tied agents — before and after the 2016 presidential election. More than 100 million Americans were hit with fake news on the platform, the company admitted to Congress last fall. By launching this summer, Facebook-approved news clips will be in circulation by the 2018 midterm elections.

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Facebook is preparing to add a video news section to its Watch tab later this year, TheWrap has confirmed.

The social network is looking to partner with about 10 publishers to create native news content, with a rollout set for this summer. News clips will be at least three-minutes long and will be featured within a dedicated tab on Watch. Axios was first to report the story on Tuesday morning.

“Timely news video is the latest step in our strategy to make targeted investments in new types of programming on Facebook Watch,”  Campbell Brown, Facebook’s global head of news partnerships, said in a statement to TheWrap. “As part of our broader effort to support quality news on Facebook, we plan to meet with a wide-range of potential partners to develop, learn and innovate on news programming tailored to succeed in a social environment. Our early conversations have been encouraging, and we’re excited about the possibilities ahead.”

The move comes as Facebook has been recalibrating its approach to news. Earlier this year, Facebook shifted its News Feed algorithm to feature more local stories. “There’s too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post announcing the decision. Facebook is looking to “prioritize news that is trustworthy, informative, and local,” added Zuckerberg. To this point, short-form reality shows, rather than hard news, have been the backbone of Facebook Watch.

Facebook has been under fire for its inability to weed out misinformation — some funded by Kremlin-tied agents — before and after the 2016 presidential election. More than 100 million Americans were hit with fake news on the platform, the company admitted to Congress last fall. By launching this summer, Facebook-approved news clips will be in circulation by the 2018 midterm elections.

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Secret Service Calls Fake News on Axios Report, Didn’t Tackle Chinese Official Over Nuclear Football

The Secret Service is crying fake news after a report in Axios which said that one of its agents had tackled a member of Chinese security personnel in a scuffle over the nuclear football during President Donald Trump’s visit there last November.

“FACT CHECK: Reports about Secret Service agents tackling a host nation official during the President’s trip to China in Nov 2017 are false,” the service’s official Twitter account blared out late Monday morning.

FACT CHECK: Reports about Secret Service agents tackling a host nation official during the President’s trip to China in Nov 2017 are false

— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) February 19, 2018

It’s unclear whether the agency was denying the entire Axios report or simply the particular nugget about the tackling. The secret service did not immediately respond to a request for clarification from TheWrap.

On Sunday, Axios and Jonathan Swan cited five unnamed sources who told him that the altercation as he described it did indeed occur.

“When the U.S. military aide carrying the nuclear football entered the Great Hall, Chinese security officials blocked his entry,” wrote Swan. “Then there was a commotion. A Chinese security official grabbed [John] Kelly, and Kelly shoved the man’s hand off of his body. Then a U.S. Secret Service agent grabbed the Chinese security official and tackled him to the ground.”

The nuclear football, shorthand for the mobile device which would allow the president to launch a nuclear war, must be near the president at all times. At no time was the device ever in the hands of the Chinese, Swan reported.

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The Secret Service is crying fake news after a report in Axios which said that one of its agents had tackled a member of Chinese security personnel in a scuffle over the nuclear football during President Donald Trump’s visit there last November.

“FACT CHECK: Reports about Secret Service agents tackling a host nation official during the President’s trip to China in Nov 2017 are false,” the service’s official Twitter account blared out late Monday morning.

It’s unclear whether the agency was denying the entire Axios report or simply the particular nugget about the tackling. The secret service did not immediately respond to a request for clarification from TheWrap.

On Sunday, Axios and Jonathan Swan cited five unnamed sources who told him that the altercation as he described it did indeed occur.

“When the U.S. military aide carrying the nuclear football entered the Great Hall, Chinese security officials blocked his entry,” wrote Swan. “Then there was a commotion. A Chinese security official grabbed [John] Kelly, and Kelly shoved the man’s hand off of his body. Then a U.S. Secret Service agent grabbed the Chinese security official and tackled him to the ground.”

The nuclear football, shorthand for the mobile device which would allow the president to launch a nuclear war, must be near the president at all times. At no time was the device ever in the hands of the Chinese, Swan reported.

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Steve Bannon “Regrets” Delay In Responding To ‘Fire And Fury’ Claims

Steve Bannon, reiterating much of what he said last week on his Sirius radio show, pledged his “unwavering support” for President Donald Trump “and his agenda,” and that he “regrets” his delay in responding to “inaccurate reporting” surrounding Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury book.
The apology, such as it is, came in a statement to the website Axios today. In the bullet-pointed missive, the banished “Sloppy Steve”, as Trump has taken to calling him, says that Donald Trump…

Steve Bannon, reiterating much of what he said last week on his Sirius radio show, pledged his “unwavering support” for President Donald Trump “and his agenda,” and that he “regrets” his delay in responding to “inaccurate reporting” surrounding Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury book. The apology, such as it is, came in a statement to the website Axios today. In the bullet-pointed missive, the banished “Sloppy Steve”, as Trump has taken to calling him, says that Donald Trump…

Axios Raises Additional $20 Million to Fund Newsroom Expansion

News start-up Axios has completed a new round of fundraising, revealing a $20 million new injection of capital to fund an expansion of newsroom staff.

The cash is the second time the company has gone to the bank and was led by Greycroft Partners and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

The pair of firms were both financiers of Axios’ first round of funding last year which raised $10 million.

The news was first reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Also Read: Politico Founders Launch Axios, Land Donald Trump Interview on Day 1

The one-year-old Axios — a creation by Politico alumni Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei — plans to use the money for an aggressive expansion into audience development, analytics and newsroom growth. The company currently employs 89 people and is looking to hire 60 more.

Axios, which delivers content through a number of smart newsletters and a rolling series of bite-sized bullet-pointed articles, rapidly gained a reputation as a scoop machine.

The site’s political reporter, Jonathan Swan, has become a near-constant presence on MSNBC, where his stories very often drive newsroom coverage.

Also Read: Sean Parker Slams Facebook for ‘Exploiting a Vulnerability in Human Psychology’

Site co-creator VandeHei is still planning to secure the longterm viability of the company with a paywall, but that is not expected to be rolled out until at least 2018 as the site continues to build audience.

Both Axios co-founder Mike Allen and president Roy Schwartz were not immediately available for comment Friday.

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News start-up Axios has completed a new round of fundraising, revealing a $20 million new injection of capital to fund an expansion of newsroom staff.

The cash is the second time the company has gone to the bank and was led by Greycroft Partners and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

The pair of firms were both financiers of Axios’ first round of funding last year which raised $10 million.

The news was first reported in the Wall Street Journal.

The one-year-old Axios — a creation by Politico alumni Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei — plans to use the money for an aggressive expansion into audience development, analytics and newsroom growth. The company currently employs 89 people and is looking to hire 60 more.

Axios, which delivers content through a number of smart newsletters and a rolling series of bite-sized bullet-pointed articles, rapidly gained a reputation as a scoop machine.

The site’s political reporter, Jonathan Swan, has become a near-constant presence on MSNBC, where his stories very often drive newsroom coverage.

Site co-creator VandeHei is still planning to secure the longterm viability of the company with a paywall, but that is not expected to be rolled out until at least 2018 as the site continues to build audience.

Both Axios co-founder Mike Allen and president Roy Schwartz were not immediately available for comment Friday.

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Media Startup Axios Banks $20 Million From Investors Including Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo

News startup Axios has raised a $20 million round of second-round funding from a range of investors, including WndrCo, the tech and media investment company formed by Jeffrey Katzenberg. Axios was founded last year by a trio of defectors from Politico: CEO Jim VandeHei, who was Politico’s co-founder of Politico; Mike Allen, formerly Politico’s chief […]

News startup Axios has raised a $20 million round of second-round funding from a range of investors, including WndrCo, the tech and media investment company formed by Jeffrey Katzenberg. Axios was founded last year by a trio of defectors from Politico: CEO Jim VandeHei, who was Politico’s co-founder of Politico; Mike Allen, formerly Politico’s chief […]

Politico Founders Launch Axios, Land Donald Trump Interview on Day 1

The people behind Politico have launched a new website that aims to transform the way we consume news. And they landed an interview with President-elect Donald Trump on Day 1.

“You know, I’m not really a divisive figure,” Trump told Axios. (Read the interview here.)

“We’re probably the only not-yet-launched outlet to ever get a presidential interview,” Axios co-founder and president Roy Schwartz told TheWrap. “We’re super excited about that.”

Mike Allen, Jim VandeHei and Schwartz changed the way politics were covered when Politico launched back in 2007 and the trio has similar expectations for Wednesday’s launch of Axios.

Also Read: Politico Co-Founder Jim VandeHei, Veteran Mike Allen to Leave News Site

Schwartz is the former chief revenue officer of Politico and left the company in 2016 to help start a new venture that eventually became Axios. Allen, VandeHei and Schwartz had been with Politico for about a decade and spent a lot of time talking to people about the way they consume news when the concept for Axios emerged.

“If you think about that 10-year period, we didn’t have social media when we launched Politico. That was the beginning of Facebook and Twitter, definitely before, obviously, Snapchat and Instagram,” Schwartz said. “A lot of things had changed during that time.”

Schwartz explained that a few themes often came up when exploring how news is consumed that resulted in Axios.

“People felt overwhelmed by the amount of news and information that was out there. So much news, so many emails to read, so much social media. It just felt overwhelming,” Schwartz said. “We picked up on the change in people’s habits and attention span. Literally, our brains have been rewired where we tend to read only the beginning paragraph or two of an article.”

Also Read: Politico Co-Founder Jim VandeHei Partners With NBC News for Next Website

The change in behavior forced Allen, VandeHei and Schwartz to ponder different ways to write.

“You can try to get people to read an 800-word article, or a 1,000-word article, or you can be reader first and write the way that they want to consume,” Schwartz said. “We developed a concept of smart gravity, where we write an item much shorter.. that way you can quickly read it and decide if you want to read more.”

Axios does just that, offering a headline, photo and a few sentences on each story in a Facebook-like news feed format that is mobile friendly and fits on one screen. The Axios website is so friendly to mobile devices that Schwartz said an app isn’t necessary, the actual website is designed for mobile consumption.

“Everything is very short, we pull out the critical items,” Schwartz said. “Traditionally, if you were writing at the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, you couldn’t write a piece less than 800 words even if you only had one interesting quote. So you had to write around it. Here on this site, the way we are doing this news stream… it’s much more like Facebook with nothing but news.”

Also Read: Politico Duo Reveals Name, Plan for New Media Venture: ‘Economist Mated With Twitter’

Axios does not have a homepage and doesn’t offer links out. Schwartz said this allows them to publish a simple quote “without having to spend 800 words doing it.”

“We also have this concept where you can keep reading but only if you want to,” he continued before explaining that the “keep reading” button doesn’t take you anywhere, it simply expands the article right on the same screen.

“You always know where you are because there is no article page, there is no home page,” he said.

Axios even tells readers how many words to expect if they chose the “keep reading” option. Axios will also have a major presence on various forms of social media, including Facebook and Snapchat.

Also Read: Donald Trump Blasts ‘Biased’ NBC’s ‘Today’ Show: ‘Little Credibility’

“We’re reader first so I don’t mind if you don’t come back to our site, as long as you consume our content and get to know our brand,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz likes to compare Axios to a combination of Twitter and The Economist and said that 140 characters isn’t always long enough to capture a story or a thought.

“We’re able to do it in one screening we’re able to give people the ability to read more, so I think in that sense we’re similar to Twitter that we’re short, brief and you can get smart quick. The other thing is we have a stream, so it’s similar to Twitter in that it’s presented in a stream,” Schwartz said. “I said The Economist because, I thin kid you went back 40 or 50 years ago, The Economist was that thought-leader publication that covered politics, business and technology. We cover those things and we cover them, I think, in a very smart and modern way.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Politico Duo Reveals Name, Plan for New Media Venture: ‘Economist Mated With Twitter’

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The people behind Politico have launched a new website that aims to transform the way we consume news. And they landed an interview with President-elect Donald Trump on Day 1.

“You know, I’m not really a divisive figure,” Trump told Axios. (Read the interview here.)

“We’re probably the only not-yet-launched outlet to ever get a presidential interview,” Axios co-founder and president Roy Schwartz told TheWrap. “We’re super excited about that.”

Mike Allen, Jim VandeHei and Schwartz changed the way politics were covered when Politico launched back in 2007 and the trio has similar expectations for Wednesday’s launch of Axios.

Schwartz is the former chief revenue officer of Politico and left the company in 2016 to help start a new venture that eventually became Axios. Allen, VandeHei and Schwartz had been with Politico for about a decade and spent a lot of time talking to people about the way they consume news when the concept for Axios emerged.

“If you think about that 10-year period, we didn’t have social media when we launched Politico. That was the beginning of Facebook and Twitter, definitely before, obviously, Snapchat and Instagram,” Schwartz said. “A lot of things had changed during that time.”

Schwartz explained that a few themes often came up when exploring how news is consumed that resulted in Axios.

“People felt overwhelmed by the amount of news and information that was out there. So much news, so many emails to read, so much social media. It just felt overwhelming,” Schwartz said. “We picked up on the change in people’s habits and attention span. Literally, our brains have been rewired where we tend to read only the beginning paragraph or two of an article.”

The change in behavior forced Allen, VandeHei and Schwartz to ponder different ways to write.

“You can try to get people to read an 800-word article, or a 1,000-word article, or you can be reader first and write the way that they want to consume,” Schwartz said. “We developed a concept of smart gravity, where we write an item much shorter.. that way you can quickly read it and decide if you want to read more.”

Axios does just that, offering a headline, photo and a few sentences on each story in a Facebook-like news feed format that is mobile friendly and fits on one screen. The Axios website is so friendly to mobile devices that Schwartz said an app isn’t necessary, the actual website is designed for mobile consumption.

“Everything is very short, we pull out the critical items,” Schwartz said. “Traditionally, if you were writing at the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, you couldn’t write a piece less than 800 words even if you only had one interesting quote. So you had to write around it. Here on this site, the way we are doing this news stream… it’s much more like Facebook with nothing but news.”

Axios does not have a homepage and doesn’t offer links out. Schwartz said this allows them to publish a simple quote “without having to spend 800 words doing it.”

“We also have this concept where you can keep reading but only if you want to,” he continued before explaining that the “keep reading” button doesn’t take you anywhere, it simply expands the article right on the same screen.

“You always know where you are because there is no article page, there is no home page,” he said.

Axios even tells readers how many words to expect if they chose the “keep reading” option. Axios will also have a major presence on various forms of social media, including Facebook and Snapchat.

“We’re reader first so I don’t mind if you don’t come back to our site, as long as you consume our content and get to know our brand,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz likes to compare Axios to a combination of Twitter and The Economist and said that 140 characters isn’t always long enough to capture a story or a thought.

“We’re able to do it in one screening we’re able to give people the ability to read more, so I think in that sense we’re similar to Twitter that we’re short, brief and you can get smart quick. The other thing is we have a stream, so it’s similar to Twitter in that it’s presented in a stream,” Schwartz said. “I said The Economist because, I thin kid you went back 40 or 50 years ago, The Economist was that thought-leader publication that covered politics, business and technology. We cover those things and we cover them, I think, in a very smart and modern way.”

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Politico Duo Reveals Name, Plan for New Media Venture: ‘Economist Mated With Twitter’

Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen have finally unveiled their new media venture’s name — and its grand plan.

First of all, the Politico duo’s soon-to-launch company is called “Axios,” which means “worthy” in Greek. Axios has a pretty brief mission statement: “Media is broken — and too often a scam,” per a Hive interview with VanderHei.

The Politico co-founder has reportedly further described his new offering in pitches to potential investors as if “[The] Economist mated with Twitter” and “smartly narrated all the good stuff its own reporters missed.”

Also Read: Trevor Noah Thinks Media Should Treat Donald Trump Like a ‘Toddler’ (Video)

VanderHei wants Axios to focus on business, technology, politics and media trends through hiring people “who are authentically wired and smart in those topic areas,” per his Hive conversation.

He and Allen, the latter of which was the founder of Politico’s Playbook newsletter and who is pictured above, got $10 million in financing this summer, led by Huffington Post and BuzzFeed backers, Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

Speaking of newsletters, the guys have already hired Dan Primack, who authored the daily Term Sheet newsletter for Fortune. Axios currently has 27 employees, and hopes for 50 by its late-January launch.

Also Read: Politico Editor Resigns After Posting White Supremacist’s Address on Facebook

But how will Axios stand out amid the clutter? Well, VanderHei sees opportunity between two imperfect existing media models.

First, there are old media publications like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, which are too married to their own outdated tech and legacy customers to thrive.

They “are reliant on a type of advertising that you know is going to die, but you can’t leave it because it’s short-term revenue,” VanderHei said. “They are in a very difficult and painful transition. The reality of it is just setting in, and the amount of upheaval is going to be profound, and it drains not just resources but emotions and enthusiasm.”

Also Read: Now You Can Listen to Politico Playbook (Exclusive)

Then there’s new media, which too often employs a strategy that VanderHei describes as: “Just give me a lot of traffic, I swear to God I will find a business model.”

The problem with that approach is it allows copycats to oversaturate the market, driving advertising prices way down for everyone. VanderHei sees this happening all over the internet. He calls it the “crap trap.”

To make their own money, VanderHei hopes Axios will eventually earn half of its revenue through subscriptions — though there won’t be a paywall on Day 1. He promises a few more tricks up his sleeve, but some secrets are currently being kept under wraps.

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Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen have finally unveiled their new media venture’s name — and its grand plan.

First of all, the Politico duo’s soon-to-launch company is called “Axios,” which means “worthy” in Greek. Axios has a pretty brief mission statement: “Media is broken — and too often a scam,” per a Hive interview with VanderHei.

The Politico co-founder has reportedly further described his new offering in pitches to potential investors as if “[The] Economist mated with Twitter” and “smartly narrated all the good stuff its own reporters missed.”

VanderHei wants Axios to focus on business, technology, politics and media trends through hiring people “who are authentically wired and smart in those topic areas,” per his Hive conversation.

He and Allen, the latter of which was the founder of Politico’s Playbook newsletter and who is pictured above, got $10 million in financing this summer, led by Huffington Post and BuzzFeed backers, Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

Speaking of newsletters, the guys have already hired Dan Primack, who authored the daily Term Sheet newsletter for Fortune. Axios currently has 27 employees, and hopes for 50 by its late-January launch.

But how will Axios stand out amid the clutter? Well, VanderHei sees opportunity between two imperfect existing media models.

First, there are old media publications like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, which are too married to their own outdated tech and legacy customers to thrive.

They “are reliant on a type of advertising that you know is going to die, but you can’t leave it because it’s short-term revenue,” VanderHei said. “They are in a very difficult and painful transition. The reality of it is just setting in, and the amount of upheaval is going to be profound, and it drains not just resources but emotions and enthusiasm.”

Then there’s new media, which too often employs a strategy that VanderHei describes as: “Just give me a lot of traffic, I swear to God I will find a business model.”

The problem with that approach is it allows copycats to oversaturate the market, driving advertising prices way down for everyone. VanderHei sees this happening all over the internet. He calls it the “crap trap.”

To make their own money, VanderHei hopes Axios will eventually earn half of its revenue through subscriptions — though there won’t be a paywall on Day 1. He promises a few more tricks up his sleeve, but some secrets are currently being kept under wraps.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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Evan Rachel Wood Is 'Taking a Break From Social Media' After Rape Tweet

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Joe Scarborough Says Trump's Meeting With Media Heavyweights Wasn't as Harsh as Reported (Video)