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Grist, a 20-year-old nonprofit online magazine that focuses on climate and environmental coverage, has taking full ownership of all the assets of what's left of Pacific Standard, an award-winning magazine that closed in 2019.

Why it matters: Pacific Standard shut down in 2019 after its main backer, an academic publishing house, withdrew its funding, showcasing the risk that comes with quality journalism being funded without a reliable business model.

It's also a timely investment.

  • "One of the many reasons we were enthusiastic about taking on the Pacific Standard's archives and brand is its long history of reporting on social justice and race," says Grist CEO Brady Walkinshaw.

Details: "There is no cash component as a part of the deal from Grist," says Walkinshaw. "We're not purchasing it. We agreed to take it on to keep 12 years of work in the public domain."

  • Grist will be taking over 20,000+ stories from the Pacific Standard's archives, as well as all of its audio and video assets. The content still generates a small but notable monthly audience of 1 million readers per month, which still brings in a small amount of ad revenue as well ($2,000 - $3,000 monthly).
  • It's looking at relaunching the brand, and it plans to reinvest that revenue to grow its freelance budget to support reporters doing work on social and environmental justice.
  • Walkinshaw says Grist is committed to keeping the outlet public and free.

The big picture: Grist's takeover of Pacific Standard is a good example of how media companies of any size can help to support the great work of other outlets.

  • Grist is small, but its readers are hyper-loyal and its subject matter expertise, environmental justice, is becoming more important every day.
  • Over the years, it has broadened its scope to cover culture, politics and food systems — all related to climate change and environmentalism.
  • The company makes about $6.5 - $7 million in revenue annually from a variety of sources, including philanthropy, grants, membership fees, advertising and branded content sponsorships. Membership fees, while a small portion of the overall pie, have doubled in the past year.

Go deeper

Stephen Breyer formally announces retirement from Supreme Court

Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Justice Stephen Breyer on Thursday sent a letter to President Biden formally announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court.

What he's saying: "I enormously appreciate the privilege of serving as part of the federal judicial system ... I have found the work challenging and meaningful," Breyer said.

COVID created an epic U.S. trade gap

Chart: Axios Visuals. Data: Census Bureau/Bureau of Economic Analysis

The details of the blockbuster fourth quarter GDP report released Thursday morning tell a vivid story of how the underpinnings of the world economy have been reshaped by the pandemic.

One example: In the arithmetic around U.S. economic output, trade acted as a more severe drag last year than it has in a generation.

Updated 1 hour ago - Technology

Pandemic gave cover to online dating scams

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Crooked Casanovas used online dating scams to steal an estimated $500 million from lonely victims last year, according to a new analysis of government fraud data by Atlas VPN, an internet security provider.

Why it matters: The isolation of the lingering pandemic provided cover to fraudulent suitors who had an excuse for not meeting up in person even as they fleeced their would-be lovers out of gift cards, money — even cryptocurrency.

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