Following negative coverage of its bushfire reporting, News Corp has this morning pledged $5 million to the crisis.
The multimillion-dollar donation is in addition to the personal donations already made by News’ executive chairman Rupert Murdoch who stumped up $2 million and a further $2 million from Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch.
The donation follows criticism of News’ newspapers and websites reporting of the devastating fires and their refusal to link them to climate change.
There was more embarrassment for the media behemoth yesterday when an internal email from the publisher’s commercial finance manager Emily Townsend was leaked to media that was highly critical of the reporting.
In the email, Townsend labelled the reporting as a “misinformation campaign” filled with “irresponsible and “dangerous coverage”.
Criticism of the reporting has also gone global with the UK’s The Guardian and The New York Times lambasting the way the bushfire crisis and climate change in general have been reported in News’ Australian mastheads.
Rupert Murdoch commenting: “It is clear that confronting the bushfire disaster in Australia requires both an immediate response and an ongoing investment in rebuilding the lives and livelihoods of those most affected by the fires across the country.
“As a company with roots in Australia and an abiding commitment to its people and communities, we are determined to help, both in this time of great need, and well into the future, as the hard work of restoration continues,” Murdoch said.
News’ CEO Robert Thomson dismissed complaints about journalist’s and editor’s reporting saying they’d done an “extraordinary job” tracking the tragic fires “and their profound impact on individuals, communities and the environment.”
According to reports on News sites today, the company will also donate all monies from sales and advertising dollars from January 21 to bushfire relief which is estimated to be a further million dollars.
Foxtel, majority owned by News Corp, will also donate the proceeds from special advertising packages for its broadcast of bushfire charity events held by Cricket Australia, the AFL and NRL to assist people and communities affected by the bushfires. This will include advertising from the Fire Fight concert in February. This is expected to raise up to $500,000.