News Corp. buys Skiff, part of Journalism Online


More moves toward shoring up News Corp.’s plans for paid content walls: The media empire has bought the Skiff e-reading platform developed by Hearst and a stake in Journalism Online, a company that manages online pay models for newspapers and magazines.

News Corp. also said Monday that it had named Jon Housman to the newly created post of president for its digital journalism initiatives; Housman had been serving as a strategic advisor to News Corp. for the past several years.

Skiff is a company that the Hearst Corporation founded last year to develop an online store for publications. News Corp’s release about the buy says it is especially interested in Skiff’s ability to deliver “visually appealing layouts for newspaper and magazine content.”

Journalism Online is co-founded by Steven Brill, L. Gordon Crovitz and Leo Hindery Jr.

Jon Miller, the chief digital officer of News Corporation, said in a the release that “both Skiff and Journalism Online serve as key building blocks in our strategy to transform the publishing industry and ensure consumers will have continued access to the highest quality journalism.”

News Corp. and CEO Rupert Murdoch have been arguing for some time now that newspapers need to start charging for their content on the web. News Corp. already has pay technology in the mix, starting with The Wall Street Journal Online, the London Times and Sunday Times.