Media Insider: Bill Gates Backs Cipher, Mike Pence Launches Podcast, Marie Claire Ends Print Edition

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media news stories from the week.

Earth as seen from space, with half of the globe disintegrating

Bill Gates Backs Cipher, a New Online Climate News Source

Bill Gates is backing a new online climate news publication called Cipher that is slated to start publishing Sept. 29. Cipher’s stated mission is “to help accelerate the technological transformations required to get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through trustworthy and objective journalism.” The site is described as a weekly newsletter and video series, and will be available for free without ads. The product will be funded by Gates’ Breakthrough Energy with the possibility of someday enlisting sponsors to help cover events and newsletters.

Meanwhile, the New York Times is testing a beta app for kids.

Pence Launches Podcast With Conservative Group

Former Vice President Mike Pence has launched a podcast, “American Freedom,” with Young America’s Foundation, an organization focused on young conservatives. The first episode was released a day before the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Pence has worked with Young America’s Foundation before, speaking at their student conferences while he was a House lawmaker and later as vice president.

In more podcast news: YouTube and National Public Media partner to launch a custom podcast on the rise of the creator economy. 

Winklevoss Twins Back Payload, a New Outlet Covering the Business of Space

For years, space coverage has focused on the consumer-facing spectacle of space travel instead of the business and societal implications of the industry. Payload, a new digital media company focused on the business and policy of space, aims to go a step deeper by providing coverage to space industry professionals. The new company has raised a $650,000 seed round, mostly from Winklevoss Capital, the venture firm run by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Like many new media upstarts, Payload’s business model revolves around a weekly newsletter. Soon, that newsletter, which includes sponsorships, will move to daily. In the future, Payload plans to build complementary products like events and podcasts, or more newsletters.

Also from Axios: Broadcasting giant Nexstar is eyeing more small media acquisitions for digital content.

Fox Buys TMZ in Deal Valued at Less Than $50 Million

AT&T’s WarnerMedia has sold the celebrity news and gossip brand TMZ to Fox Corp. The deal will see the notorious tabloid founded by Harvey Levin operate under the Fox broadcast network umbrella. In addition to its websites, TMZ has also had a syndicated TV series, “TMZ on TV,” since 2007, and a spinoff series, “TMZ Sports,” on FS1. Fox’s owned and operated stations were the launch partner for the syndicated show, and will keep airing the program, which has renewed through the 2022-2023 season. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but someone familiar with the sale pegged the value of the deal at less than $50 million.

ICYMI: The National Trust for Local News is trying to build a $300 million fund to help save local news.

Marie Claire Quietly Ends US Print Edition After 27 Years

Women’s magazine Marie Claire is ending its U.S. print edition after 27 years. The magazine, sold by Hearst to British publisher Future Media in May, quietly informed its subscribers via a letter that its Summer 2021 issue would be its last. Marie Claire subscribers will instead receive a print copy of Harper’s Bazaar for the rest of their subscription terms, according to the letter, which was signed by Bazaar editor in chief Samira Nasr. Nasr added that Marie Claire would publish select special editions available for purchase at newsstands.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press is also looking at a digital future; the newspaper bought thousands of iPads to convert print subscribers to a mostly digital format.

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Maria Perez is director of web operations at Cision. In her spare time, she enjoys kickboxing, baking, and cuddling with her dog Toody.

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