Axios vs The Washington Post: The Origin Story of a Top-class Journalism Workforce

We have ventured recently into several industries and various fields of business including aviation & space manufacturing, airlines, neobank and digital banking, investment funds, gaming, and so on. As we continue to broaden our grasp on the modern-day business scene, we are thrilled to discover how certain enterprises are pushing things forward and always bringing something new to the table; particularly in the start-up and fintech eco-system.

In this instance, we’ll be taking a closer look at the vibrant scene of online journalism. We’ll also take a sneak peek into a news outlet to discover how it made a name for itself, the kind of workforce that powers it, and what it takes to make an impact on such a highly competitive market.

How Axios Survived the Dangerous Waters of Digital News

Running a news site or indeed any online publication these days is about as risky as it can get. Back in 2019, over 80 news sites actually hit the market and a majority of them crumbled. As a result, plenty of ad dollars were poured into other top domains. In short, the playing field was left open for giant online brands such as Google and Facebook.

Axios was another ambitious player looking to make a mark in digital news. Founded in 2017 by former staff of Politico, Axios started off as a D.C.-area-based national politics site. They powered their way into the market of online local newsletters, with the intention of covering many US areas including Washington D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Ohio, and more.

While Google and Facebook were eating up ad revenue, Axios primarily focused on quickfire online journalism, covering trends, and sticking to a particular style of news. So, how did they compete with the likes of mighty news publications such as The New York Times, USA Today, and others?

Usually, it takes years, even decades to leave a mark in media and journalism. Axios, mind you, had a neat trick up their sleeve. One of the main characteristics of their website was the quick-read format. They featured stories that were served in small chunks to the audience. The info was always fast, accurate, and the format was digestible. Readers found it rather engaging, and were hooked on having a catchy summary of every article with the headline reading “Why it matters.” It seems like a small detail, but in the long run it meant a lot to Axios and is one of the main reasons why they gained traction so quickly. For example, they relied on this format to break numerous reports and hot stories linked to the Trump administration at the time. These moves brought them quite a lot of attention, and not to mention, a loyal readership.

Thanks to that slick strategy, Axios actually succeeded in its race against some of the world’s most influential news outlets such as The Washington Post, which was also the most powerful competitor in the region. That’s quite an achievement, considering they had to build their credibility and brand from scratch. What’s more, compared to WP, Axios has a smaller market value, and generally smaller workforce (between 300–500, whereas WP is nearly 4000 strong).

Where Does a Top-class Journalism Workforce Come From?

To expand a little on how Axios compares to other news sites, let’s pit them against WP, by taking a deep dive into workforce metrics. We start with employment practices. Osterus data shows us that both publications are determined to recruit people with a rich experience in media and publishing. In addition, judging from the fresh info we have from the same two companies, quite a substantial number of employees at Axios were previously working for Politico, and that comes down to 18.2%. Another large chunk of employees was also previously working for EVERFI (8.8%), which is followed by numerous companies such as NPR (6.3%), NYT (4.5%), EAB (4.5%), The Wall Street Journal (2.8%) and others.

Taking a quick gander at The Washington Post, we see a smaller percentage of their workforce has arrived from USA Today (3.7%) and The Daily Northwestern (3.3%). This is where it gets a bit more interesting, because this data represents a modest number of employees.

Freshly extracted workforce analytics point to relatively similar hiring practices in both. The Washington Post also prefers welcoming employees that previously worked at The New York Times (NYT); that’s approximately 7.1% of their workforce. In addition, they hire employees from The Wall Street Journal (4.8%), Politico (3.5%) and USA Today (3.7%).

Where Do Employees Linger?

If we level up our search for more valuable data, utilizing Osterus, we detect previous employment retention average differences. Axios has an average of 2.7 years, while Washington Post has 3.9 years. Next, we look at current employment duration differences — Axios has 1.4 years and Washington Post boasts approximately 5.2 years. The data is not entirely surprising, seeing as the Washington Post was on the market considerably longer, while Axios started out as a news site in 2017.

The key takeaway here is that the employment duration over at the Washington Post remains pretty high, which in turn indicates a decent retention rate.

The Powerful Role of Gender Equality

We take things one step further with even more data. Osterus managed to unearth a stunning insight into the workforce of both publications. In a tough, COVID-burdened, war-torn climate, it’s encouraging to see how much gender equality matters; especially in the world of journalism. Both Axios and Washington Post have one major similarity on that front — have a look below:

When it comes to gender diversity, Axios appears to have a more balanced result — 48.3% are female, while 49.7% are male. Washington Post, on the other hand, is slightly behind, but still has a well-balanced gender distribution — 46.7% of WP employees are female, and 51% are male. This data demonstrates quite a commendable effort within both outlets to maintain a solid male to female ratio.

The WP recently revealed its workforce demographics, which corroborates the accuracy of the latest data on gender diversity that was extracted utilizing Osterus software.

WP vs Axios: Mixed Higher Education

Education plays a crucial role in any publication or news agency. Looking at university attendance, we can see that a large number of employees have attended a variety of universities in the US. But let’s kick off into Degrees Distribution. Both Axios and Washington Post employees predominantly have Bachelor’s Degrees and Master’s Degrees. Check out the percentages below:

In addition, the education length averages around 5.6 years for Axios and 5.8 years for The Washington Post.

Employees with higher education at Axios have attended the following Universities: Columbia University, NY University, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Georgetown University and Northwestern University. On the other hand, the most attended Universities for Washington Post are: Northwestern University, American University, University of California, Berkeley, Columbia University, NY and Georgetown University.

It’s an interesting mix all around. It clearly shows how much emphasis both publications are putting on higher education.

Effortlessly Spotting M&A Opportunities

This exciting leap into online journalism gives us a unique perspective on human capital. Still, how does one find true value in a company? M&A professionals and venture capital firms are currently facing so many challenges, whether it’s expanding company portfolios, spotting the right M&A opportunities or just crunching through heaps of seemingly irrelevant info. In a thriving financial marketplace, searching for that special piece of data gets quite overwhelming at times.

In this case, Osterus was used to pinpoint crucial workforce metrics behind two highly influential publications on the US market. In no time at all, we can even go a few steps beyond with another meticulous look at additional company data. We can:

  • Benchmark the workforce against the competition
  • Access deep insights into vital urban areas to examine quality of life and cost of living
  • Analyze company workforces to spot potential irregularities during the due-diligence process

That’s only a smidge of what’s possible.

To learn more, feel free to reach out to contact us directly, reach out to us on LinkedIn or dive into even more cool data by scheduling a demo.




Founder of — see my full bio there :-)

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Julian Herzog

Julian Herzog

Founder of — see my full bio there :-)

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