The crown jewels of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire are right-leaning outlets like Fox News and the New York Post, but his daughter-in-law is financially backing an up-and-coming platform that bills itself as focusing on “progressive realism.”
In a Wednesday Twitter post, Kathryn Murdoch, the wife of 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, announced her support for The Correspondent, which is tentatively planned to launch this month.
“I’m supporting something different,” she wrote. “Will you join me?”
On its website, The Correspondent vows to distance itself from the churn of the daily news cycle, and to promote stories that embrace diversity and combat “stereotypes, prejudice, and fearmongering.”
The site’s founding editor, Rob Wijnberg, told HuffPost that its values are wholly unlike those of, for example, Fox News.
“We are very different from these large news organisations,” he told HuffPost in an email. “We won’t breathlessly follow the news cycle, but cover the underlying forces that shape our world. We do this by collaborating with members. You can talk and work together with our journalists, asking them questions, and sharing your knowledge and experience. And we’ll do this on a site that is completely ad-free. No banners, no sponsored content. We only represent the civic interests of our members, not those of powerful businesses.”
Murdoch did not immediately respond to a request for comment to discuss her support for The Correspondent, but Wijnberg said she is like thousands of others who have contributed to the site.
“To be absolutely clear: she is not involved with us in any way ― she has just become a memberlike [sic] 39,000 other people, and because this is a crowdfunding campaign, we call all of these people ‘founding members,’” he wrote. “We didn’t know she was a founding member until you pointed us to her tweet.”
To become a founding member, the platform suggests a contribution of $25 to $2,500, or an amount of the donor’s choosing. The extent of Murdoch’s financial support remains unclear.
Murdoch isn’t the site’s only notable advocate. Its list of so-called “ambassadors” includes FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, TV producer Judd Apatow, “Game of Thrones” actress Carice van Houten and press critic Jay Rosen.
In a March 2017 article for the Nieman Journalism Lab, Rosen wrote that an ambassador’s role is to “help introduce its model to others who might be able to assist — including possible funders.”
The Correspondent is slated to begin operating once it reaches its fundraising goal of $2.5 million. Wijnberg confirmed it currently has $2.29 million.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the highest suggested donation amount on The Correspondent’s contribution platform. It is $2,500, not $25,000.