Media Companies Move Into Digital-Education Space

By Ian Quillen — August 09, 2011 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is not unique among media companies in deciding in recent years to invest in digital education endeavors.

In 2007, for example, the New York Times Co. launched the New York Times Knowledge Network, which uses the company’s human and electronic resources to offer an array of online courses for high school, college, graduate, and continuing education students.

NBC Learn, the educational wing of the television network, has delivered digital K-12 and higher education content in free and for-pay formats since 2009.

And Discovery Communications launched Discovery Education, which has offered extensive free and for-pay online content since 2003.

“I think it could be these companies have a certain DNA—a certain internal skill set—[and] that they’re looking to new markets to apply that core expertise,” said Steven Pines, the executive director of the Education Industry Association, based in Washington. “And teaching and learning is a huge enterprise that is federally, state, and locally funded.”

In New York, for example, competitively awarded federal funds have poured into several education technology ventures in recent months.

The School of One, at which News Corp.’s Wireless Generation is the lead technology partner, was awarded $5 million in federal Investing in Innovation, or i3, grant funding last fall. And the New York City Innovation Zone, a broader digital-modernization project launched while Joel I. Klein—now the head of News Corp.’s education division—was schools chancellor, is using $25 million of the state’s $696 million federal allotment from a winning Race to the Top application.

Converging Missions?

Broader forces are also at work in media companies’ education ventures, suggests Felice Nudelman, the executive director of education for the New York Times Co. She said the missions of journalism and digital education have converged in part because news-gathering and educating both are becoming increasingly collaborative and reliant on digital media.

At the Times Co., she said, those factors are coupled with a corporate mission that includes furthering education. She noted a history of involvement by The New York Times in education, including the Newspapers in Education Program, which helped put newspapers in New York City schools as early as the early 1900s, and educational research partnerships throughout the years.

“I think that what we’re doing in education is a natural alignment,” Ms. Nudelman said. “The work we’re doing really focuses on the learning environment—how people learn, how educators teach. Other companies are choosing different paths.

“[Education] is a really big area,” she said, “and I think people are identifying ways that either align with their corporate mission or that they think are opportunities for their companies.”

A version of this article appeared in the August 10, 2011 edition of Education Week as Media Companies Move Into Digital-Education Space


Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Social-Emotional Learning: Making It Meaningful
Join us for this event with educators and experts on the damage the pandemic did to academic and social and emotional well-being.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum A Media Literacy Requirement That Starts in Kindergarten? New Jersey May Start the Trend
New Jersey lawmakers want to require school districts to include media literacy for every grade.
3 min read
Fake News concept with gray words 'fact' in row and single bold word 'fake' highlighted by black magnifying glass on blue background
Curriculum The World Cup as Teachable Moment? How One Teacher Approached It
It's not just a game: Geopolitics are inscribed into the soccer championship, giving teachers an opportunity to host rich discussions.
3 min read
Josh Sargent of the United States controls the ball during the World Cup, group B soccer match between the United States and Wales, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022.
Josh Sargent of the United States controls the ball during the a World Cup match between the United States and Wales in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 21.
Francisco Seco/AP
Curriculum Nearly 300 Books Removed From Schools Under Missouri's 'Sexually Explicit Materials' Law
Missouri's efforts to remove books from public schools—either temporarily or permanently—go farther than most.
5 min read
Banned books are visible at the Central Library, a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library system, in New York City on Thursday, July 7, 2022. The books are banned in several public schools and libraries in the U.S., but young people can read digital versions from anywhere through the library. The Brooklyn Public Library offers free membership to anyone in the U.S. aged 13 to 21 who wants to check out and read books digitally in response to the nationwide wave of book censorship and restrictions.
Several titles in this display of books in at the Central Library in New York city are on Missouri's banned books list. The N.Y. library allows young people anywhere to read digital versions of the books.
Ted Shaffrey/AP
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Sponsor
Teachers – Get Excited for Crayola Creativity Week 2023!
Crayola is bringing educators, parents, children, and celebrities together for an exciting, week-long, worldwide event: Crayola Creativity Week!
Content provided by Crayola