News Corp Sells Beliefnet to Small Media Company

Article excerpt

A small Virginia-based media company that specializes in channeling a portion of consumer spending to charity has acquired Beliefnet, a leading online Web site devoted to multifaith news, commentary and inspirational content.

The buyer, BN Media LLC, focuses on the "vast online market for spirituality and inspiration" by "bringing audiovisual and written content to the masses while helping people make a difference for their favorite nonprofit organization," which receives 10 percent of the purchase price.

Beliefnet, cofounded by former magazine journalist Steve Waldman in late 1999, has had a tumultuous decade--"many highs and lows," in his words. The New York-based Beliefnet went bankrupt in 2002, but the online site gradually recovered after Waldman took over two top executive posts.

In 2007, it was purchased for an undisclosed sum by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation with an eye toward integrating it with other faith-based properties. Last October, however, Waldman announced that he was leaving to become senior adviser to Julius Genachowski, the new chair of the Federal Communications Commission.

Waldman and Genachowski have been friends since both were undergraduates at Columbia University in the 1980s, according to Bloomberg News. In a farewell message to Beliefnet readers, Waldman said he hopes to address a "systemic crisis in journalism" in his new job. …

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