Italian businessman to launch new ‘pro-European’ newspaper amid financial crisis

Italian businessman to launch new 'pro-European' newspaper amid financial crisis
An 85-year-old Italian press magnate says there's a gap in the market for a "progressive, liberal" newspaper in Italy - and he plans to launch one in the middle of the country's worst economic crisis since World War Two.
“Domani” (Tomorrow), a web-based publication with print editions, is to begin publishing in September, giving voice to what veteran businessman and media magnate Carlo De Benedetti called under-served “progressive, liberal and reformist” ideas.
 
“We will cover politics, economics, the environment, international issues,” the former owner of La Repubblica daily told AFP.
 
“No columns, no gossip, just facts.”
 
One of the most influential figures in Italian business, De Benedetti stepped down as president of all his companies in 2009.
 
Speaking to AFP, he said he hoped the new initiative would “last beyond my time on this earth”. And he defended the idea of launching another newspaper in this politically fractious country, and during an economic crisis.
 
“It seems to me that after the change of ownership of the Repubblica-Espresso group, Italy found itself without 'a liberal voice', as they say in the United States. Let's say reformist or progressive,” he said.
 
Uphill challenge
 
Domani's newsroom of 17 journalists is to be headed by Stefano Feltri, who supervises ProMarket.org, a free-market online journal sponsored by the
Stigler Center at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business.
 
De Benedetti said the new paper will have a clear stance “against all types of populism and sovereignty, against racism, in favour of the market, freedom
and Europe”.
 
De Benedetti said he planned to fund the paper with 20 million euros ($22.5 million) of his own money, divided between the publishing company and a
foundation to be set up. 
 
“After a first phase, which I will personally finance, I have undertaken to transfer ownership of the newspaper to a foundation, which will guarantee its
neutrality with regard to economic interests,” he said.
 
The Guardian in Britain and Germany's Frankfurtr Allgemeine Zeitung operate under a similar foundation model, he noted.
 
De Benedetti faces a “practically impossible challenge” in launching the title, said Carlo Alberto Carnevale-Maffe, a professor of business strategy and entrepreneurship at Milan's SDA Bocconi School of Management.
 
“Economically the market has never been so bad,” he said, adding nonetheless that there might still be room for original journalism, including
investigative work.
 
“But it's not easy to make it profitable,” the specialist warned.
 
De Benedetti said: “We want to be a paper that looks at news with the eyes of tomorrow and not yesterday,” adding that he would put even more money into the
project “before he dies”.


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