The Free Press co-founder and CEO Bari Weiss (right) seated next to social media producer Lucy Biggers on Thursday, December 8, 2022 during the company's launch. Photo credit: Andy Mills
Bari Weiss, the New York Times columnist turned independent newsletter writer, has hired ten full-time employees and over a dozen contractors to help build her new media company, The Free Press, Weiss told Axios in an interview.
Why it matters: The success of Weiss' Substack newsletter and podcast, both of which she launched last year after leaving The New York Times, shows there's an appetite for coverage that's meant to rebuke traditional media products.
Driving the news: Weiss launched The Free Press last Thursday, four days ahead of schedule, to capitalize on the media coverage around her "Twitter Files" reporting.
Weiss and her wife, Nellie Bowles, a co-founder of The Free Press"and former New York Times correspondent, have wasted no time supercharging growth.
Catch up quick: Weiss left The New York Times as an op-ed columnist in July 2020, arguing she had become a victim of "a 'new McCarthyism' that has taken root at the paper of record." Bowles left The Times shortly after in 2021.
By the numbers: In January of 2021, Weiss launched Common Sense, a newsletter on Substack that's since amassed over 283,000 free and paid subscribers. (Common Sense has now been rebranded as The Free Press.)
Of note: Weiss' newsletter and other Free Press email newsletters will continue to be sent using Substack, which also provided technical support for The Free Press website.
Details: Looking ahead, Weiss plans to launch a slate of newsletters and podcasts to accompany her own, all under the umbrella of The Free Press.
Between the lines: The Free Press joins a slew of news startups, including Semafor, Puck and Airmail, that have launched in recent years as digital updates of the kind of timely, scoopy, voice-driven coverage that print used to provide.
The big picture: Weiss, alongside other independent writers like Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald, are gaining newfound attention with Elon Musk's ownership of Twitter.