Laurene Powell Jobs is trying to save journalism through funding

Laurene Powell Jobs is investing hundreds of millions in media companies.

Laurene Powell Jobs — Steve Jobs’ widow — claims she named her charitable organization the Emerson Collective after Ralph Waldo Emerson, in honor of his essay “Self-Reliance.”

Laurene Powell Jobs is trying to save journalism through funding

It just so happens Emerson Street was also the location of her first date with Steve. Coincidence? We think not.

Anyway, Emerson is equipped with $1.8B+ in assets and has recently been working to instill self-reliance in American journalism.

“Journalism is a cornerstone of our democracy…

… and we see that it’s dying,” Emerson’s director of media told the Columbia Journalism Review. “We want to try and help save it.”

Today, Emerson looks like a charitable VC firm. While its ~$250m investments in journalism include $37m to nonprofits, it also includes $110m for a 70% stake in The Atlantic.

Aside from The Atlantic — whose paywall brought in ~400k subscribers in 2020 — Emerson is also invested in for-profit media firms Axios, The Athletic, Anonymous Content, and Pushkin Industries.

Emerson is run like a business

The organization’s structure as an LLC — though mainly for privacy purposes — is symbolic of the fact that Powell Jobs expects investments will turn a profit.

In May, The Atlantic laid off 68 employees as revenue sunk. Then in August, Emerson cut ties with Pop Up Magazine, whose pre-COVID projections had it losing $3m in 2020.

Still, this could likely only be the beginning of Emerson’s foray into media. Last year, Powell Jobs told the New York Times her fortune “ends with me.”

**Pulls out calculator**… There’s a solid $22B+ to go.

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