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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The New York Times' hit podcast "The Daily" hit a billion total downloads last week after launching just over 2.5 years ago, says Theo Balcomb, executive producer of The Daily.

Why it matters: The Daily has been a surprise success story in the saturated world of podcasting. The profitable show was credited with being one of the biggest drivers to Q2 digital advertising growth for The Times last quarter.

Details: According to Balcomb, The Daily experiences an increase in listenership when there is major, breaking news.

  • "When Comey was fired, we saw a spike. When Mueller was appointed, we saw a spike," says Balcomb. "What's been amazing for The Daily is that when we see spikes, we maintain them."

Be smart: Politics generally garners the most interest, says Balcomb.

  • "In general, something that feels like a huge political or cultural conversation brings people in. This is particularly true for debate coverage. Users rely on The Daily to explain big news of the day. Instead of watching a 3-hour-long debate, they will tune into a 25-minute recap from The Daily."

By the numbers: On average, The Daily now garners more than 2 million downloads per day, and approaching 10 million monthly uniques, per The Times. The show is also carried on over 150 public radio stations nationwide in the U.S.

Go deeper: Podcast events are making a killing

Go deeper

The separate and unequal paths in business

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When a bank turned down George Johnson for a business loan, he got creative. He returned and told the bank he needed $250 to take his wife on a vacation — and was approved. Then he invested the cash in his business, which became the first Black enterprise to trade on the American Stock Exchange.

Why it matters: The highways to success in the U.S. market economy — in entrepreneurship, corporate leadership and wealth creation — are often punctuated with roadblocks and winding detours for people of color.

GOP state legislatures move to assert control over election systems

Contractors in Phoenix in May 2021 recounting ballots as part of a 2020 general election audit requested by the Arizona State Senate. Photo: Courtney Pedroza for the Washington Post

Republican-held state legislatures have passed bills that give lawmakers more power over the vote by stripping secretaries of state of their power, asserting control over election boards and creating easier methods to overturn election results, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: The bills, triggered by baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, threaten to politicize traditionally non-partisan election functions by giving Republicans more control over election systems.