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Monday, June 10, 2024


GUEST BLOG / By Beth Francesco, National Press Club, Washington DC
--The National Press Club is honoring Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, co-founders of two digital news outlets that have revolutionized how audiences consume their news, with its Fourth Estate Award and is planning a gala in their honor on Nov. 21. 

The Fourth Estate Award recognizes journalists who have made significant contributions to the field and is the Club’s most esteemed prize. This year’s Fourth Estate Gala begins with a reception at 6 p.m. ET followed by dinner and the awards program starting at 7 p.m. at the Club. Tickets for the gala are $200 for Club members, and $350 for members of the public. 

Allen and VandeHei co-founded Axios, which they launched with co-founder Roy Schwartz in 2017. Axios is among the most celebrated digital media success stories of the past decade and was acquired by Cox Enterprises in 2022. They launched Axios Local in 2021 to provide original reporting, scoops, and local coverage worthy of readers' time. 

Axios Local is now in 30 markets around the country and has nearly 2 million subscribers. “Jim and I are honored by this recognition and deeply grateful for the National Press Club and journalists everywhere who fight every day for smart, consequential, deeply reported journalism,” Allen said. “Our nation is weaker when our media is not strong, fearless, and durable. The mission of protecting journalism at Axios and everywhere is a group effort. We are humbled to be a part of it." 

 'Audience-first, entrepreneurial spirit' 

Allen and VandeHei also co-authored Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less and were executive producers of the Emmy Award-winning docu-news series, “Axios on HBO.” 

Prior to Axios, Allen and VandeHei co-founded Politico in 2007, created Politico Playbook, and helped build the company for its first decade. 

“Mike and Jim have long exemplified an audience-first, entrepreneurial spirit while building some of the biggest digital news success stories in our industry. Their commitment to high journalism standards and resolve to find profitable, impactful local news products at a time when news deserts are growing are among the many ways they embody the values we celebrate with this award,” said NPC President Emily Wilkins. 

“We are thrilled to honor them with the Fourth Estate Award.” VandeHei and Allen have had a lasting impact on many, Wilkins said: their many employees, the industry, and, of course, the audiences across the U.S. who depend on Axios. “There could be no better recipients than Jim and Mike for the NPC’s Fourth Estate Award. They have dedicated their careers to journalism and have reinvented best practices for the business,” said Cox Enterprises CEO Alex Taylor. “Their contributions at Axios to the Fourth Estate and all the important journalism that comes with it are needed now more than ever.” 

VandeHei is the author of best-selling Just the Good Stuff, where he shares lessons he’s learned from founding two successful media companies and his tricks for thriving at work and in leadership. He also serves as the chairman of Axios HQ, a software company that helps organizations create essential communications. 

Before Axios, VandeHei co-founded and was CEO of Politico, the media company that upended and revolutionized political and policy journalism in Washington, New York, and Europe. 

Overseeing both the editorial and business teams, VandeHei was the leading strategist behind its highly scalable and successful business model. 

Prior to this, VandeHei spent more than a decade as a reporter, covering the presidency and Congress for the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. He was named National Editor of the Year in 2016. VandeHei is from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and has a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. 

Allen writes the Axios Daily Essentials newsletters, Axios AM, Axios PM, and Axios Finish Line. He has been named several times to Vanity Fair's “New Establishment” list. He is an alumnus of TIME, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He is from Orange County, California, and graduated from Washington and Lee University. 

 Top Club honor 

The Fourth Estate is the top honor bestowed on a journalist by the Club's Board of Governors. Previous winners include: Christiane Amanpour, Dean Baquet, Marty Baron, Wolf Blitzer, Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, Lester Holt, Gwen Ifill, Andrea Mitchell, Clarissa Ward, Kristen Welker, and Susan Zirinsky. The gala is a fundraiser for the Club’s nonprofit affiliate, the National Press Club Journalism Institute. The Institute provides training that equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public, provides career support for journalists, and provides scholarships to aspiring journalists. The evening also expects to honor the recipients of the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Awards and Neil and Susan Sheehan Award for Investigative Journalism. Honorees for the Aubuchon and Sheehan awards will be announced at a later date. 

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