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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
Dec 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Exclusive: Climate movement veterans launch major new foundation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Prominent climate movement veterans have set up a major new foundation with a mission to steer big, near-term policy decisions in nations with large carbon emissions.

Driving the news: Climate Imperative is emerging publicly today and with a planned budget of $180 million annually over five years. The California-based foundation began making grants in the spring of 2020.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Dec 15, 2021 - Technology

Americans want tighter government regulation of social media

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new poll from Morning Consult finds 56% of U.S. adults support government regulation of social media companies, up 4 percentage points from an October survey. The poll also found that roughly three in five adults say social media platforms do not do enough to keep users safe.

Why it matters: Poll results like this could bolster legislative and regulatory efforts to make social media companies more accountable for the content on their services.

Updated 59 mins ago - Economy & Business

Hybrid work now dominates the knowledge economy

llustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, most knowledge workers are in hybrid work arrangements, partly remote and partly in-office, a new survey finds.

By the numbers: 58% said they now work this way, in a survey of around 10,000 knowledge workers from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Japan, conducted last November by Future Forum, a research group backed by Slack.