TOP OF THE WEEK: Protocol (aka «Politico for Tech») shuttered on Tuesday.
What’s going on: Protocol, that was launched by former Politico owner and publisher Robert Allbritton in February 2020, shuttered this week and going to lay off dozens of staffers. The news organization ceased publishing on its website on Thursday. Flagship newsletter, Source Code, will continue publishing for several more weeks, but all other newsletters stoped.The site’s roughly 60 staffers will be let go after Dec. 16 and will be eligible for eight weeks of severance.
What is Protocol: As Allbritton said, Protocol is like a Politico but about the technologies. «We start completely from the scratch, we do not enter the market with something ready-to-use. No one in the technomedia world talks about this topic in terms of people, power and politics». He wanted to replicate Politico’s successful model for the technology industry.
Tim Grieve (Protocol EIC) wrote in the welcome letter back in 2020: «We’ll focus on the people, power and politics of tech, with no agenda and just one goal: to arm decision-makers in tech, business and public policy with the unbiased, fact-based news and analysis they need to navigate a world in rapid change».
The problems of new media started from the very beginning — just after 2,5 months the owner of Protocol fired 13 persons (including journalists).
In August 2021 Axel Springer bought Politico and Protocol as well. That acquisition resulted in Protocol, which had operated independently, being folded into Politico Media Group. Protocol will again fall significantly short of revenue goals in 2022. And the outlook for next year looked grim, given the worsening economy and battering the technology industry has endured in recent months.
What’s next: Nothing. But something is going to change in Politico. Politico will beef up its tech coverage. And without Protocol Politico US and EU will combine to form one operational company with a single executive team. Claire Boussagol, CEO of Politico Europe, will leave the company.