The media entrepreneur Jimmy Finkelstein has taken one step closer to launching a new entrant in the American news landscape that he’s billed to potential hires as a combination between the Washington Post and Daily Mail.
Two people who have spoken with Finkelstein recently told Semafor that he said he’s raised at least $40 million for a new digital news property called The New Statement, a name Finkelstein’s media company JAF Communications filed a trademark for last month, according to public records.
Finkelstein, the heir to a New York real estate fortune who now lives in West Palm Beach, formerly ran the parent company of The Hollywood Reporter and turned the magazine, for a time, into a buzzy sensation under editor Janice Min. After Finkelstein’s co-investors bought him out of the company in 2013, he purchased the Hill, which he sold to the local television giant Nexstar in 2021 for $130 million.
Publicly, he’s been mum on specifics about the new company. Last year, Axios reported that he was attempting to raise money to hire hundreds of reporters and staff for a media organization which would feature “digital, streaming, and social media components across an array of topics, primarily news, politics, sports and entertainment.”
In recent months Finkelstein has talked to a number of prominent Washington journalists about potential top editorial roles, including former USA Today top editor Joanne Lipman, NPR editorial director Nancy Barnes, former ABC and Hearst exec Joanna Coles, and former National Geographic editor Susan Goldberg, among others, according to people familiar with the conversations.
Last month’s trademark filing said the company’s purpose was to provide “news, current events, commentary, and opinion reporting, audio and video content” as well as interactive games and conferences.
Though Finkelstein’s search for an editor continues, he has made several key hires. Two people who have spoken to Finkelstein told Semafor he’s brought on longtime partner Richard Beckman, who worked with Finkelstein at the Hill and Prometheus, to run the business. Another person with knowledge told Semafor he’s hired Daily Beast chief revenue officer Mia Libby, and has been working on the venture with media veteran and Washington personality Tammy Haddad.
Finkelstein and his new team didn’t respond to repeated requests to comment on the project.
Finkelstein’s aspirations appear to be to build more splash and relevance than the ubiquitous, but Brand X, Hill. He’s also told associates he’s looking for a political center that appeals to supporters of Donald Trump, whom he knows socially, and to Democrats — a difficult feat. But Finkelstein and Beckman are seasoned veterans of entertainment and political media who understand the churning business of high-volume digital media. Finkelstein boasted to the New York Times that he bought the Hill in 2014 at a fraction of the valuation he eventually sold for, and he has cast himself as a savvy media business figure who effectively manages costs.