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Meredith Kopit Levien. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Meredith Kopit Levien, the incoming CEO of The New York Times tells Axios that her vision for the future includes establishing The Times as a world-class digital and tech company, continuing to attract the industry's top talent, and working to promote The Times' brand and broader ecosystem of independent journalism.

Why it matters: Kopit Levien is credited with the company's digital turnaround. Her focus on data, product and technology will be a big thing to watch in the coming years at The Times.

Driving the news: The Times announced Wednesday that Kopit Levien, the paper's current COO, will become its president and CEO, succeeding Mark Thompson and becoming the youngest executive to lead the company at age 49.

Details: As part of Kopit Levien's goal to make The Times a digital powerhouse, Kopit Levien says she wants to "reimagine the way we do our work to look and feel and operate the way transformational tech companies do."

  • "It's increasingly about how we create the conditions to do world class product development work — how we drive product innovation," she said, We're still on journey to that."
  • Kopit Levien noted that much her work as COO over the past two years has been breaking down long-held silos between departments.
"There are more engineers at The Times than any other department other than journalists."
— Meredith Kopit Levien

Yes, but: Kopit Levien says The Times' strategy is "broadly working" and "any change from here is a question of emphasis."

Between the lines: The Times' long-stated goal is to reach 10 million digital subscribers by 2025, and the company is on its way. Earlier this year, it announced that it has more than 6 million digital subscribers.

  • "We’re still in a journey to play a role in many more people’s lives and times to play a bigger role people already have relationship with brand," Kopit Levien said.

The big picture: Kopit Levien's impact on the Times to date cannot be overstated.

  • She is credited with turning the business around from being mostly dependent on advertising to getting most of its money from subscriptions.
  • She transformed the company's business structure to more closely integrate product and data.
  • Kopit Levien also modernized The Times' advertising business to rely more heavily on creative digital solutions, like sponsored content, than traditional print ads.

The Times has been caught in political crosshairs several times during the Trump presidency. Asked how she intends to handle political pressure from the administration and others, Kopit Levien says The Times is as committed as ever to upholding the principles of quality and independent journalism around the world.

  • "We are living in an incredibly polarized time. The most important thing we can do in that time is continue to report the truth as we see it and do so with real curiosity and spirit of independent journalism."
  • The most important thing The New York Times can do is keep investing in that. And keep doing work independently — without fear or favor — and you will continue to see us do that regardless of whoever the President is."

What's next: Kopit Levien says to expect The Times move into new spaces "with more vigor."

  • "Audio has been a very big area of focus and investment for us," she told Axios. On Wednesday evening, The Times announced it struck a deal to acquire Serial Productions, the maker of the hit true-crime podcast "Serial."
  • "The Daily, which has now had over 1 billion downloads, has become a daily habit for so many people," Kopit Levien said. "We've begun to use The Daily as a mechanism to put other audio journalism into the world."
  • The Daily, on average, garners more than 3 million downloads each day.
  • The Times has since invested in multiple TV and film projects.

Go deeper: Meredith Kopit Levien named CEO of the New York Times

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”