We are both happy and sad to announce that the Chronicles will be undergoing a significant step in its journey with a substantial (for us) investment from News Corp, and the parent of Fox News. They have kindly allowed us to notify our readers before they issue their press release tomorrow.
While this may initially sound strange to many, as you probably know, the news business is changing rapidly, and News Corp several years ago started quietly buying “trusted blogs,” as a way to support their existing business. Their model is to put in the money to substantially upgrade the site and market it, keep the content people, and try to keep the user experience very similar, except for targeted advertising for Fox News products. As part of it, we will become a for-profit social enterprise, and will report to the New Properties division of News Corp . We will not be asking for donations anymore.
In addition, what you may not know is that Rupert Murdoch’s last wife was a yoga instructor, and she got him quite interested in meditation. He is now personally funding a lot of mindfulness research and has we are told he has taken a personal interest in the Chronicles. (We have not met him but hope to.)
Despite our best efforts, we simply couldn’t raise the money to make the changes to the Chronicles website and content that have we hoped to for some years. We think the advertising, which News Corp assures us will be subtle and non-obtrusive, is a small price to pay for better access to the dharma. (The ads will be targeted, so will direct you specifically to Fox News shows relevant to the content you are reading.) Joanne and I will stay on, and keep control over the content, with only an annual review from the people at News Corp.
The one small change they have asked for, which is part of their standard branding of all of their properties, is to rename the site “Fox Chronicles of CTR.” While not tiger, lion, garuda or dragon, we feel Rinpoche might have liked the fox.
Yours in the Dharma,