🌊 Our Vision for News

Money to leave Tokyo? Swedish wolf hunters strike out, and our vision for the news

It felt like the country took a collective gasp when Damar Hamlin collapsed during the Bills-Bengals game last night. The Bills' 24-year-old defensive back received CPR on the field and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. He remains in critical condition, though some reports seem to suggest that he's improving.On a slightly happier note, Damar Hamlin's most recent Instagram post was for a charity drive he organized to support kids. His goal for the fundraiser was $2,500 — donations are now over $3M and counting.

In today's edition:

  • Money to leave Tokyo?

  • Swedish wolf hunters strike out

  • Our vision for news

🔑 Key Stories

Japan: We Will Pay You to Move

Japan will offer families up to $7.5k (1M Yen, ¥) per child to leave Tokyo — Japan’s capital and largest city

  • Japan’s population peaked at ~128M in 2009 and has declined every year since. It faces low birth rates and one of the world’s oldest populations, with ~29% of its people older than 65

  • Between those trends and young people leaving for Tokyo, towns and small cities are shrinking fastest

  • Japan already offers families who relocate up to ~$23k in one-off payments. But in 2021, just 2,400 people – .006% of Tokyo’s population – took the offer. The government hopes the additional payments will help

Dig Deeper

  • Japan's population is expected to fall 16.3% from 2020-2050, the most of any highly industrialized country. Policymakers believe that this trend is hurting Japan's economy by depleting the workforce of young people who can support the older generations

Times Square Attack

Police arrested a man for allegedly assaulting 3 police officers near Times Square on New Year’s Eve

  • Just after 10 PM, the man allegedly attacked 3 police officers with a machete until he was shot in the shoulder and arrested. All 3 officers have been released from the hospital

  • Police say the man, a Maine resident, is a former athlete and honor roll student who struggled after his father’s overdose death

  • The man recently converted to Islam, and authorities say Islamist extremism likely drove him to commit the crime

Dig Deeper

Croatia Joins Schengen, Adopts Euro

Croatia joined Europe’s free movement zone and adopted the euro on Sunday

  • Croatia was part of Yugoslavia. It fought a war and became independent in the 1990s, then joined the European Union (EU) in 2013

  • The Schengen Area is a group of 26, now 27, European countries that allow free movement between them, akin to travel between US states

  • The euro is a currency used by 19, now 20, countries

  • On January 1, Croatia officially joined Schengen and adopted the euro, which analysts expect to boost tourism to Croatia and its links to the EU economy

Dig Deeper

  • The Schengen Area encompasses 4.4M square kilometers (1.7M square miles) and 423M people. Analysts say Croatia's entry into the zone could signify a reversal of its fortunes after years of pushback following the 2015 migrant crisis

University of Idaho Murderer Found?

Authorities arrested a suspect in the November murders case of 4 University of Idaho students

  • Early on November 13, 4 students were stabbed to death in an off-campus house. Last month, police said they were searching for the owner of a Hyundai Elantra that was photographed near the scene

  • On December 30, authorities arrested a man in Pennsylvania for the murders. He was a criminology PhD student at a nearby university

  • Police sources say DNA ties the man to the scene, and that he drove the same car model. Police say he acted alone but have not yet disclosed a motive

Dig Deeper

  • Online conspiracies variously claimed that the killer was a stalker; a man connected to the death of a local dog; and a serial killer. Police now say they believe they've found the lone killer and that they don't expect to make more arrests in relation to this case

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🍿 Popcorn


  • Stratton Yikesmont: The S&P 500 recorded its worst year since 2008, falling over 20%. The only sector that ended the year up was the energy sector

  • RIPope: Pope Benedict XVI died at his Vatican residence from a long-term illness. The German pope who shocked the world with his retirement in 2013 was 95

  • Hang in there, Hawkeye: Actor Jeremy Renner is hospitalized in "critical but stable" condition after sustaining an injury from a slow-plowing accident in Reno, NV


  • Boy who culled wolf: Hunters in Sweden went home empty-handed on the first day of its wolf cull. Authorities are allowing hunters to kill 75 wolves in the wild

  • Trigger juarning: 14 were killed in an attack on a Mexican prison in Juarez, near El Paso, TX. Shooters from armored vehicles took out 10 guards and 4 inmates

  • Name is Rodgers. Aaron Rodgers: ESPN gave the Green Bay Packers a 3% chance to make the playoffs just weeks ago. Now, they have a "win-and-in game" on Sunday

👇🏻 What do you think?

Today's Poll

My New Year's Eve was spent...

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Today's Question:

If you had a theme song for your life, what would it be and why?

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See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

Today, we want to lay out our vision for the future of news and our goals for the upcoming year.

The State of Roca

Going into 2022, Roca was a company that consisted of 4 friends working out of their apartments, running an Instagram page and this newsletter.

Going into 2023, we’re a team of 12 running 4 Instagram pages, this newsletter with 220,000 subscribers, 2 TikTok pages, and a sales operation, while having built an app we believe will revolutionize the way people consume news. And we’ve traded in our kitchen tables for an office.

Our mission remains identical: To deliver enjoyable, nonpartisan news.


Our News Vision

We believe that the purpose of news consumption should be to learn the important and interesting things happening in the world, so you can live a better life. Getting the news should be like working out: Something you do because it’s healthy and ideally enjoyable. After doing it, move on with your life.

But consider how other news companies operate.

On TV, they provide a 24/7 stream of “breaking news,” most of which will be forgotten immediately because it’s neither interesting nor important. There isn’t enough news, so they turn to opinion.

Through apps, they provide a constant feed of clickbait push notifications, not with a goal of helping you live a better life, but to get you to click and get them ad revenue.

Why in the world should you receive dozens of news notifications a day? Why should a company send you a headline on a Friday night?

News companies keep us on call 24/7, sending distressing news headlines to our phones at all hours. It’s horrible for mental health.

Since launching Roca, we’ve believed that the 24/7 news cycle needs to end. No one needs a constant stream of news; they need to know what’s actually important, and they should get that information at predictable intervals. That’s why we focus on email and Instagram: We can wait for the dust to settle each day, then feature the most relevant stories. Our content goes out at roughly the same time every single day.


The Roca App

Our app is our boldest bet yet on that vision. It’s based on the feedback we’ve received over 2 years of delivering the news.

Its purpose is simple: To be a place people can come once a day to get all the nonpartisan news they need to live a productive life.

It will offer more and deeper stories than any of our other news platforms. Also, for the first time, we will be able to control the delivery and experience: No spam filters or shadowbans; no blocked links; no limits on which news we can report.

The beta will be out within a month, with a full launch to follow soon after.


Original Content

We are also going to do more original content.

Each time we travel, we learn so much about the world. We’ve been taking trips and documenting them here with our periodic Roca Roadtrips. The feedback we receive from those trips is incredible, so we want to do more of it.

In 2023, our goal is to have a near-constant stream of on-the-ground content, which we will also turn into social media videos. We want to bring more of the world’s most interesting stories to our audience, and video is a great way to bring places to life.


Improving and Expanding

And we will continue to improve our existing channels, including this newsletter and our Instagram pages. As always, we’ll try to respond to as many of your notes as possible, and hope you will provide us with suggestions to keep improving and expanding.


Thank you all for getting us to this point. We can’t wait for what lies ahead.

🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Better puzzle?

Crossword: 65%Sudoku: 35%

Yesterday's Question:

Just 20 Qs!

🧠 Final Thoughts

We hope you all had wonderful New Years. We can’t wait for the year ahead. If you have suggestions, ideas, or any feedback for us, please send it over!

Looking forward to a great 2023.

-Max and Max