As media outlets continue to emphasize their digital platforms, the tech industry has become increasingly intertwined with the news business. In fact, a handful of powerful tech billionaires have purchased their own news organizations. Others have an impact for different reason, check out six prominent examples.
Jeff Bezos – Washington Post
The Amazon founder purchased the Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million in cash. Bezos, who is among the richest people in the world, has caught the attention of the president. Trump often refers to the paper as the “Amazon Washington Post.”
Chris Hughes – The New Republic
The Facebook co-founder purchased The New Republic in 2012, becoming executive chairman and publisher. However, he sold it to Win McCormack in 2016, saying he “underestimated the difficulty of transitioning an old and traditional institution into a digital media company in today’s quickly evolving climate.”
Laurene Powell Jobs – The Atlantic
The widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has taken a controlling interest in The Atlantic. The Emerson Collective, an organization focused on “education, immigration reform, the environment, and other social justice initiatives,” and spearheaded by Powell Jobs, will take the helm of the popular publication.
Pierre Omidyar – The Intercept
The eBay founder is a well-known philanthropist who created First Look Media, a journalism venture that launched The Intercept. After being inspired by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Omidyar teamed up with journalists Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras to launch the website “dedicated to the kind of reporting those disclosures required: fearless, adversarial journalism.”
Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook
OK, so Facebook isn’t technically a news organization… yet. However, the company is preparing to launch its much-anticipated lineup of original content later this summer, and there are also signs that its on the verge of becoming an even bigger media platform.
Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships at Facebook, confirmed last week it’s developing a subscription service for publishers willing to post articles directly to Facebook Instant Articles, rather than their native websites.
The PayPal co-founder doesn’t own a news organization, but he makes this list because he essentially ended one – proving the power that an angry billionaire can have on America’s news consumption. Thiel secretly bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s sex-tape lawsuit against Gawker Media because he was upset that the website once revealed him as a gay man. Hogan won the defamation lawsuit against the site that sent its parent company into bankruptcy. Gawker.com is no longer operating.