Axios CEO Jim VandeHei Calls Writer’s Cell to Complain About Article: ‘I’m Curious Who Are You?’


Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei called Columbia Journalism Review’s Lyz Lenz on her cell phone on Friday to complain about an article, she said on Twitter. It did not go well.

Lenz described the call with a “rough transcript” in a series of tweets, to which so far VandeHei has not replied. She introduced the thread by describing the setting and circumstance before a few tweets relaying the brief call. After she did so, the rest of Twitter chimed in, and still are on Monday morning.

First, the call:

Among the many responses to the thread, that of HuffPost’s Ashley Feinberg (who was quoted both traditionally and by tweet embed in the article that started the exchange) stood out.

In the article in question, Lenz described the Axios style as “a Wikipedia article in newsletter form for the ruling class,” the effect of which is “steamrolling of nuance in favor of sounding smart at a cocktail party.”

In October, Axios announced the launch of Axios on HBO, a “limited documentary series” airing on the cable network currently. VandeHei said the series that “the world needs new, smarter ways to better understand the dominant personalities and definitive trends changing politics, business, technology and our lives. (You can “go deeper” here.)

It is that new, smarter way that Feinberg and Lenz are criticizing, and which VandeHei was apparently attempting to defend. But as a defense of concept, an angry “do you know who I am” Friday night phone rant doesn’t really seem that “new.” Or “smarter”.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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