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Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Three of Politico’s biggest reporting stars plan to launch a competitor to the company’s Politico Playbook franchise, sources tell me. 

Why it matters:  Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan will launch a daily newsletter in 2021 as a stand-alone company, the sources say. In effect, they will be competing against the Playbook franchise they helped create and grow. 

  • The newsletter will include a heavy focus on Capitol Hill reporting, given the expertise of the trio, but it's not designed to be a carbon copy of Politico's flagship newsletter Playbook.
  • The new venture will include other offerings aside from the newsletter.
  • Sherman and Palmer have been soliciting emails via social media to get set up quickly after they depart.

Between the lines: Industry sources tell me they will be able to attract advertisers focused on the DC market, especially if they quickly replicate their elite audience. It is unclear if the product will be paid. 

  • Politico editor Carrie Budoff Brown announced Monday that Politico reporters Heather Caygle and Burgess Everett would become Politico's new Congressional bureau chiefs.
  • Politico executives have not yet announced Playbook replacements.

What they're saying: "We’re still finalizing our next steps -- 2021 is a long way away. We’ll have more to say on our plans after the new year. Anna and I have absolutely loved our careers at POLITICO," Sherman tells Axios.

  • Politico spokesperson Brad Dayspring tells Axios: "We have enormous ambition for the Playbook franchise headed into 2021 and beyond, as well as for Huddle, our Capitol Hill focused newsletter. Look for some exciting news on both fronts this month."
  • "Whatever their next adventure is, be it focused on the Hill or elsewhere, Bres, Anna, and Jake each had great runs at POLITICO and we wish them the best as they begin a new journey."

The bottom line: They're the latest big media stars to leave their outlets in pursuit of independent projects.

Go deeper

Moderna says vaccine appears to protect against new COVID-19 variants

Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against new variants of the virus that first appeared in the U.K. and in South Africa, the company announced on Monday.

Yes, but: The vaccine was as effective against the strain from U.K., but saw a six-fold reduction in antibodies against the South Africa variant. Even still, the neutralizing antibodies generated by the vaccine "remain above levels that are expected to be protective," according to the company.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated 1 hour ago - World

Xi Jinping warns against "new cold war" in Davos speech

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Wang Zhao - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that a "new cold war" could turn hot, and must be avoided, in a speech on Monday at World Economic Forum’s virtual “Davos Agenda” conference.

Why it matters: Xi didn't refer directly to U.S.-China tensions, but the subtext was clear. These were his first remarks to an international audience since the inauguration of President Biden, whose administration has already concurred with Donald Trump's determination that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims, and issued a warning about China's aggression toward Taiwan.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dominion files $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani

Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday seeking $1.3 billion in damages for his "demonstrably false” allegations about the company's voting machines.

Why it matters: Giuliani led former President Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election and spread the baseless conspiracy theory that Dominion's voting machines flipped votes from Trump to Joe Biden.