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Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

James and Kathryn Murdoch are nearing a deal to make a multi-million dollar investment to support the formation of a new climate reporting hub at the Associated Press, two sources familiar with the deal tell Axios.

Why it matters: The duo has increased their investments in media projects in the past few years via their non-profit organization called Quadrivium Foundation.

  • The foundation was launched in 2014 to fund groups focused on the advancement of "democracy," "technology and society," "scientific understanding," "climate change" and "ocean health."
  • James Murdoch is the former CEO of 21st Century Fox and the youngest son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. He resigned from the board of News Corp. last year, citing disagreements with the editorial content published by the company, which is home to The Wall Street Journal and other publications.

Details: The new hub will employ roughly 20 journalists, and will be backed by multiple donors, sources tell Axios.

  • It will support the AP's existing climate reporting efforts. The outlet is already working with several foundations, including the Rockefeller Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and Walton Family Foundation, to fund climate and environment coverage.
  • As a part of its standards protocol, the AP says it always maintains editorial independence when working with such partners.

The big picture: Kathryn and James Murdoch have increased their investments in media companies in recent years via Quadrivium Foundation. The donation to the AP will likely be one of their more sizable media investments to-date.

  • The pair donated $5 million to the American Journalism Project in September to support local news.
  • It funds a non-profit led by conservatives called Defending Democracy Together, which publishes The Bulwark, a center-right news site founded in 2018 in opposition to Trumpism.
  • Quadrivium also backs SciLine, a nonpartisan, nonprofit service for journalists and scientists focused on science news. Kathryn Murdoch sits on SciLine's board. The outlet was launched in 2017 as a program within the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
  • Quadrivium was a founding donor for The 19th, a nonprofit newsroom focused on covering the intersection of gender, politics and policy. Kathryn Murdoch sits on its board.

Between the lines: While the investments are made of behalf of the Quadrivium Foundation, Kathryn Murdoch often takes on a leadership role.

  • One source whose media company is funded by the Quadrivium Foundation says Kathryn Murdoch is "not an interventionist, but she pays attention. ... She does not try to micro-manage."
  • James Murdoch has made several media investments in companies like Vice Media and Morning Consult through his investment firm Lupa Systems, which he founded in 2019.
  • In recent years, James and Kathryn Murdoch have distanced themselves from the Murdoch empire, investing in candidates and causes across the political spectrum.

What to watch: More news companies are looking for ways to have non-profits fund specialized projects or research.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

Big foundations vow climate-friendly investments

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Two heavyweight grant-making foundations are pledging new efforts to orient their endowments toward more climate-friendly investments.

Driving the news: The Ford Foundation — one of the nation's largest — said Monday that it will no longer invest in fossil fuels via its $16 billion endowment.

Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting with his COVID-19 response team. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

A federal court in Missouri has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally-funded facilities in 10 states.

Why it matters: Monday's decision is the first victory for opponents of the rule, which requires health care workers to get vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022. The case is one of four lawsuits challenging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule and argues that the mandate will exacerbate staffing shortages.

Twitter's next act

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is exiting the company he helped build at a time when its future has never been so uncertain.

Why it matters: The person who controls Twitter controls the de facto public square — with implications for politics, media and free speech.