Axios gives green light for reporters to join protests

Axios gives green light for reporters to join protests
© Bonnie Cash

Axios is giving the green light for its reporters to join protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd

In a memo sent to employees on Monday, Jim VandeHei, the co-founder and chief executive of Axios, said Axios would support its employees that participate in protests and even cover bail and medical bills.

The New York Times first reported the memo. 

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“First, let me say we proudly support and encourage you to exercise your rights to free speech, press, and protest,” VandeHei wrote. “If you’re arrested or meet harm while exercising these rights, Axios will stand behind you and use the Family Fund to cover your bail or assist with medical bills.”

The email was a reply to an employee question on the company’s stance on protesting during the weekly session of anonymously submitted questions to managers. 

Axios’s staff is made up of 192 people with about half of that being newsroom employees. 

Axios did not immediately return a request for comment.

Several people with knowledge of recent discussions at Axios told the Times that VandeHei said he did not mean to encourage his employees to participate in protests and has reminded his staff that if reporters go, they could risk losing sources for revealing their views. 

In a statement to the Times, VandeHei said the email did not exemplify a change in Axios’s policy.

“We trust our colleagues to do the right thing, and stand firmly behind them should they decide to exercise their constitutional right to free speech,” he said.

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody has caused protests on police brutality to erupt across the country. Several journalists have been arrested while reporting at these demonstrations over the past two weeks.