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A group of media, journalism and tech companies has joined veteran media executive Merrill Brown to create a full-service publishing platform specifically built for digital news publishers called The News Project (TNP).

Why it matters: Brown says his company is different from other digital publishing platforms, like Maven, Squarespace and Medium, because his focuses solely on news.

This model more closely resembles The Washington Post's ARC publishing tech businesses, which signed Advance Local Media and Boston Globe Media this month, as well as Bonnier Corp. and Philly.com earlier this year.

The Associated Press has agreed to work with TNP on a set of services that can be accessed by participating publishers through the TNP platform. The AP will partner in two areas:

  • Give participating websites access to its wire on a subscription basis
  • Help sell TNP's tech worldwide with sales and marketing infrastructure

Publishers will pay a fee to launch on the platform and then will have the option to pick from a menu of services that will be made available through a monthly fee. Brown says payment of an ongoing monthly fee won't be mandatory and that the options are designed to give publishers flexibilities around their business models.

"We might sell ads for some publishers, or sell sponsorships for others," says Brown.

  • Brown says he's raised many hundreds of thousands in a seed round that includes  several former high-end media and technology executives, like Mark Walsh, former former Amazon Tech VP Neil Roseman, DC attorney Scott Fredericksen and his wife Dana Fredericksen, and former eMarketer Publisher Crystal Gurin.
  • He anticipates a lot of its money will come from larger commercial publishers (like large publishers that want to launch quick-turn websites around specific verticals), in order to fund smaller ones, like non-profits.
  • The company's first customer is Opioid Watch, a nonprofit news service published by The Opioid Research Institute.
  • The platform is currently being built by Digital development company 10up. Piano, a global leader in digital subscription and audience intelligence technologies, is building out the company's subscription tech. 

What's next? Brown says he's currently focused on scaling the technology, but has had conversations with many advertising executives about launching an ad-driven business to support publishing partners. 

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.

Shutdown Plan B

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate will hold a futile vote Monday night — just 72 hours before a potential shutdown — on a House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: The bill is going to fail. Period. But then comes Plan B: A "clean" continuing resolution — stripped of language about raising the debt limit — that Democrats spent the past week preparing, Axios is told.

Glenn Youngkin's play: Forever- and Never-Trumpers

Glenn Youngkin in Harrisonburg, Virginia, on Friday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Standing on a flatbed hitched to a John Deere tractor in red Rockingham County, Virginia, Glenn Youngkin decried California liberalism and bashed his rival, Terry McAuliffe. He also encouraged early voting. Two words he avoided: Donald Trump.

Driving the news: Youngkin, the Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee, is mounting a serious challenge to McAuliffe — a former governor and veteran of Democratic politics. Axios caught up with him on Friday in Harrisonburg, Virginia.