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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

19 mins ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

Updated 25 mins ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Charted: GOP surged as Biden slumped

Expand chart
Reproduced from Gallup. (Independents were asked their party leaning.) Chart: Axios Visuals

Gallup polling found a huge shift in party preference over the course of 2021, from a 9-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a 5-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

Why it matters: It's the biggest swing in one calendar year for Gallup's 30 years of tracking.