The Recount Joins The News Movement

John Battelle
3 min readFeb 1, 2023

(Original Post on Searchblog)

Four years ago this past summer my family and I decided to move to New York, and as I prepared, I called my best friend in Manhattan, the journalist John Heilemann. If anyone could present me with the key to our new city, it was John — he was connected to everything and everyone worth knowing in New York.

But much to my surprise John had something different in mind when I rang to pick his brain. In short, he had an idea for a new kind of company, one he’d been bouncing off of our mutual friend Fred Wilson. John wanted to totally rethink video-based news for what we came to call the “post-linear” information ecosystem — in other words, for a world dominated by Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and of course the emerging world of streaming.

As I’ve written previously, I was reluctant to start another company at the time. But Fred and John convinced me to jump onboard, and for the next four years — three of which fell in the shadow of a once-in-a-century pandemic — we built The Recount into a potent voice covering politics and power in the United States. Before we launched the company in the Fall of 2019, John, Fred and I agreed we’d stay true to our core mission and values — to focus on the problem of video in social and streaming, to not deviate from the fundamental principles of journalism, and above all, to not let the company interfere with friendships that had been decades in the making.

More than three years since our launch, I’m proud to say that The Recount has been acquired by The News Movement, an innovative and ambitious startup that shares our core values. It’s been quite a journey, and I’ve learned more in these past few years than the entire decade prior. One of the main reasons I agreed to join Fred and John was because I’d had limited experience in digital video, and pretty much no exposure to the kind of high-level political journalism that John practices daily. Along the way I was honored to work with scores of extraordinary people — people who created a brand, a voice, and a point of view that I’m proud to say will live on as part of The News Movement going forward.

In time I hope to write about those people and the lessons I’ve learned, but that’s for the future. For now, I just want to express my gratitude to everyone who joined The Recount in its mission. I’m signing off, but the work continues. As Slade Sohmer, for four years our Editor in Chief and now the leader of The Recount, famously puts it whenever change is in the wind: Onward.

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John Battelle

A Founder of The Recount, NewCo, Federated Media, sovrn Holdings, Web 2 Summit, Wired, Industry Standard; writer on Media, Technology, Culture, Business