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Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Kimberly White (Stringer), Brad Barket (Stringer)/Getty Images

One of Silicon Valley's most formidable venture capital firms is doubling down on content, putting some tech media outlets on edge.

Why it matters: Andreessen Horowitz isn't interested in traditional journalism, but, in an era where content and reach is power, it wants to exert more influence over how people think about tech and business issues.

Catch up quick: Andreessen Horowitz (a16z for short) isn't new to content. Some of its partners are veteran bloggers and authors. For years, it's hosted podcasts and produced live events. And its investments have included Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest and Substack.

  • The firm also has employed a former Wired editor for the past six years, and has become an omnipresent force on new social chat app Clubhouse (in which it's the largest outside investor).

Driving the news: A16z, a multi-billion dollar firm that invests across industries, announced in January that it's building a new and separate media property. "We want to be the go-to place for understanding and building the future, for anyone who is building, making, or curious about tech," it said in a blog post.

  • Some tech journalists were immediately skeptical, particularly as a16z has gone from being the Valley's most press-friendly VC shop to becoming much more circumspect.
  • It also came against a backdrop of several tech execs publicly pushing back against mainstream media publications, believing they've become interchangeable groupthink that focuses primarily on negative narratives.
  • Some of those tech executives feel it's best to ignore interview requests, and instead share thoughts directly via personal or company media channels.
  • In short: Andreessen Horowitz has been accused of seeking to disintermediate the press, either as punishment for unflattering coverage or as an effort to shape future coverage.

A source familiar with Andreessen Horowitz's thinking says the aim of its content effort is to supplement rather than supplant — to elevate innovation and leave the exposés to others.

The big picture: Venture capital firms have long used content marketing as a tool to accrue talent and entice entrepreneurs. It's not uncommon to hear founders reference a16z blogs or research in pitch meetings. The main difference here is that a16z is making content more central to its strategy.

Go deeper: Media's deepening trust crisis

Go deeper

Facebook tries to end its love-hate affair with politics

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook's new moves to dial back the volume of political content in users' news feeds represent the latest lurch in the social network's erratic handling of its role as the world's digital public square.

Driving the news: Facebook, having captured a vast chunk of the digital ad business and trained users to view its stream of posts as a one-stop shop for all their informational needs, now says it plans to limit its distribution of posts about politics and broaden its situational bans on political ads.

The limits of "Buy American"

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Joe Biden and Donald Trump agree on at least one thing: Buy American. The slogan was a centerpiece of Biden's recent address to Congress, backed up with one of his first executive orders.

Why it matters: Federal law has placed a heavy thumb on the scales when it comes to hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. government spending. But it's far from clear that it will have its desired effect.

Home confinees face imminent return to prison

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Thousands of prisoners who've been in home confinement for as long as a year because of the pandemic face returning to prison when it's over — unless President Biden rescinds a last-minute Trump Justice Department memo.

Why it matters: Most prisoners were told they would not have to come back as they were released early with ankle bracelets. Now, their lives are on hold while they wait to see whether or when they may be forced back behind bars. Advocates say about 4,500 people are affected.