Rupert Murdoch’s answer to Google News is dead after only 18 months | GeekComparison

The now-defunct news aggregator was an excellent source of bold, italics, underlined, and totally mismatched fonts.
enlarge The now-defunct news aggregator was an excellent source of bold, italics, underlined, and totally mismatched fonts.

In August 2019, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp announced that it was developing Knewz, its own “conservative-friendly” alternative to Google News. Knewz went live in January 2020 without much ado and officially passed away today, less than a year and a half later.

What was Knewz?

Knewz described itself as “an innovative service designed to let you consume news from a wide variety of sources, free from the bias bubbles and empty vertical lines that frustrate so many discerning readers and thoughtful publishers.” The service was operated by News Corp, the Murdoch-owned company behind Fox News, the New York Post, the Sun and the Wall Street Journal.

In practice, Knewz was a news aggregator, somewhat similar to Google News. It used AI algorithms to scrape content from hundreds of news sources, with human editors to “highlight a selection of headlines that offer a broad perspective.” The design of the site was particularly ostentatious, with yellow headings for the construction project, a tile layout of inconsistent dimensions, and frequent use of bold, underline and italics in the same heading.

Why was Knewz?

The truth raison d’être behind Google News’ competitor, which is owned by News Corp, may be harder to pinpoint. While Knewz touted itself as a way to “escape bias bubbles,” a 2020 independent study from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism suggests otherwise.

According to Tow, in February/March 2020, the New York Post had the most links on the Knewz landing page 17 times. This record was followed ten times by Fox News – with the Daily Mail behind twice, and NBC News and the New York Times for the last time tying each at the same time.

On Knewz’s politics page, the conservative slant was even more apparent, with links to Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire and Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller appearing more frequently than links to News Corp’s own Wall Street Journal.

In addition to providing a conservative-friendly feed, the site was likely intended to put pressure on Google to pay News Corp. to use the headlines at Fox, the Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. The “press on Google” theory is particularly likely, as the outlets owned by News Corp. themselves tended to take note of it.

The Wall Street Journal said News Corp has “complained” [Google News] does not adequately reward publishers” in its coverage of the launch of Knewz, and echoed the observation again today in its coverage of the service’s demise.

Why does Knewz shutter now?

Today’s farewell post on simply says, “We certainly had a provenance, but no profit,” and offers a selection of links to “some of the world’s most trusted news sites” — all of which are outlets owned by News Corp. — including (bizarre) and But there may have been another important factor in the timing of Knewz’s shutdown.

In February 2021, News Corp reached an agreement with Google in which the search giant would make “significant payments” to continue making headlines from News Corp-owned outlets, including Fox News, the New York Post, The Sun and the Wall Street Journal.

With a financial deal with Google locked down and operational, Murdoch’s site may have just outlived its main purpose.

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