For-profit

The Stratosphere

Website:

https://thestratosphere.news/teddy-schleifer/

Formation:

2021

Type:

Left-of-center newsletter focused on American billionaires

Main Author:

Teddy Schleifer

The Stratosphere is a newsletter published by the left-of-center journalist Teddy Schleifer. The newsletter is focused on American billionaires, especially tech billionaires, and their influence in politics and philanthropy. The newsletter is a precursor to the media company Puck News (forthcoming as of July 2021), with which Schleifer is a founding partner.

Founding and History

Schleifer launched the Stratosphere in mid-2021 to gain traction for Puck News, the forthcoming media company of which he is a founding partner. [1] [2]

Format and Issues

The Stratosphere is focused on American billionaires, specifically the wealthiest of the wealthy, and their influence on American life across culture, politics, philanthropy, and technology. Individual letters often cover the latest news about what a few select members of the “mega-wealthy” are up to, especially related to politics. [3] [4] [5] [6]

In his premiere newsletter, Schleifer addressed the pollical contributions of Peter Theil and his network of organizations and employees, concern about whether LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman would continue to be a major Democratic funder, and the involvement of Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison in former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial. In this letter, Schleifer also laid out the logic behind the name “The Stratosphere” saying that the ultra-wealthy “operate in their own stratosphere”. [7]
In other editions of the newsletter, Schleifer has addressed subjects such as the recall race against California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) and the wealthy donors on each side of the campaign, a $100,000 to $875,000 per-ticket Biden fundraising event in June, Jeff Bezos’ business entities for charitable purposes, and the fallout of Bill Gates’s divorce and its result on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. [8] [9]

Puck News

In June of 2021, Schleifer announced that he was leaving his job at Recode and launching a new media company as a founding partner. The company will be called Puck News and at least Schleifer’s involvement will be focused on money in politics and the goings-on of the “mega-rich” when it comes to their influence on politics and culture. [10] This venture is backed by Heat Media, a company founded by Jon Kelly, a former editor of Vanity Fair. The company plans to pay writers a share of subscription revenue, the share being determined by an algorithm that would track which writers led to subscribers paying for the service. [11]

Leadership and Staff

Teddy Schleifer is the founder and primary author of The Stratosphere newsletter. Schleifer’s journalistic career began in 2014, following his graduation from Princeton. He has worked at The New York Times, the Houston Chronicle, a political reporter for CNN, and as the senior reporter on money and influence at Recode. [12]

Schleifer was interviewed by CNN’s Brian Stelter in June of 2021 while billionaire Richard Branson was on his way to space via his company Virgin Galactic. Schleifer argued that billionaire’s going to space was an important point in arguing in favor of news organizations having a “billionaire beat” that covers the influence of the mega-wealthy. [13]

References

  1. Schleifer, Teddy. “Teddy Schleifer Announcement.” Linkedin.com, June 2021. Accessed July 26, 2021 https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6807716581657849858/. ^
  2. Linkedin.com. “Teddy Schleifer | LinkedIn.” Accessed July 26, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/teddy-schleifer/. ^
  3. Schleifer, Teddy. “Teddy Schleifer Announcement.” Linkedin.com, June 2021. Accessed July 26, 2021 https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6807716581657849858/. ^
  4. Schleifer, Larry. “Scoops: Thiel’s Political Army and Biden’s First Big Fundraiser.” The Stratosphere. Accessed July 26, 2021. https://ckarchive.com/b/v8u3hrh9479v. ^
  5. Schleifer, Teddy. “What I’m Thinking About … Bezos’s Secret Company and Biden’s $875k-a-Ticket Fundraiser.” The Stratosphere. Accessed July 26, 2021. https://ckarchive.com/b/4zuvhehdr4d4. ^
  6. Schleifer, Teddy. “A New Billionaire Feud In the Valley.” The Stratosphere. Accessed July 26, 2021. https://ckarchive.com/b/0vuwh9h67l0o. ^
  7. Schleifer, Larry. “Scoops: Thiel’s Political Army and Biden’s First Big Fundraiser.” The Stratosphere. Accessed July 26, 2021. https://ckarchive.com/b/v8u3hrh9479v. ^
  8. Schleifer, Teddy. “What I’m Thinking About … Bezos’s Secret Company and Biden’s $875k-a-Ticket Fundraiser.” The Stratosphere. Accessed July 26, 2021. https://ckarchive.com/b/4zuvhehdr4d4.

    [1] Schleifer, Teddy. “A New Billionaire Feud In the Valley.” The Stratosphere. Accessed July 26, 2021. https://ckarchive.com/b/0vuwh9h67l0o. ^

  9. Schleifer, Teddy. “Scoop: Inside the Gates Divorce Fallout.” The Stratosphere. Accessed July 26, 2021. https://ckarchive.com/b/zlughnh26m6e. ^
  10. Schleifer, Teddy. “Teddy Schleifer Announcement.” Linkedin.com, June 2021. Accessed July 26, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6807716581657849858/. ^
  11. Lee, Edmund, and Lauren Hirsch. “Former Condé Nast Editor Plans a Vanity Fair for the Substack Era.” The New York Times, April 14, 2021, sec. Business. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/14/business/media/jon-kelly-newsletter-start-up.html. ^
  12. Linkedin.com. “Teddy Schleifer | LinkedIn.” Accessed July 26, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/teddy-schleifer/. ^
  13. MSN. “Why the ‘billionaires Beat’ Is Becoming More Important,” July 11, 2021. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/why-the-billionaires-beat-is-becoming-more-important/vi-AAM1KZl ^
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