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Axios Sees A.I. Coming, and Shifts Its Strategy

In the view of Jim VandeHei, the chief executive of Axios, artificial intelligence will “eviscerate the weak, the ordinary, the unprepared in media.”

The rapid rise of generative A.I. — and its implications for how people will discover and consume news — has unsettled many media executives. Like them, Mr. VandeHei has spent the past year or so pondering how to respond.

Now he’s becoming one of the first news executives to adjust their company’s strategy because of A.I.

Mr. VandeHei says the only way for media companies to survive is to focus on delivering journalistic expertise, trusted content and in-person human connection. For Axios, that translates into more live events, a membership program centered on its star journalists and an expansion of its high-end subscription newsletters.

“We’re in the middle of a very fundamental shift in how people relate to news and information,” he said, “as profound, if not more profound, than moving from print to digital.”

“Fast forward five to 10 years from now and we’re living in this A.I.-dominated virtual world — who are the couple of players in the media space offering smart, sane content who are thriving?” he added. “It damn well better be us.”

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