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Oxygen, Markle fund info plan

New project to benefit women

NEW YORK — Oxygen Media and the Markle Foundation will team to create what they called the definitive source of publicity available about women, Oxygen chief Geraldine Laybourne and Markle prexy Zoe Baird announced Monday.

Dubbed the Oxygen/Markle Pulse, the initiative will track and measure women’s opinions, attitudes, needs and values.

In addition, the Markle Foundation will establish a fund for converging media that will support experimental programming and innovative use of cross-platform media to meet public needs.

Oxygen will contribute $5.3 million to the initiative while Markle will kick in $4.5 million over three years.

Markle’s investment is part of the nonprofit org’s plan to spend $100 million over the next three to five years to help ensure that public needs are served by emerging media and information technologies.

New voice

“The mission of the Oxygen/Markle Pulse is to change the way the world sees women and the way women see themselves,” said Laybourne. “Oxygen shares Markle’s goal of encouraging the development of media that improves lives.”

Baird said, “Our initiative with Oxygen will provide us with an invaluable platform to create a dialogue with women about social and political issues of great interest to them — such as education, health care, human rights and the role of media in democracy.”

Other Markle investments

Markle’s contribution was the largest of eight grants and investments that the group announced Monday.

Other grants included $400,000 for Gotham pubcaster Thirteen/WNET to support a project that will use the Web to teach children responsibility in their community.

A $500,000 grant went to Internews Network to develop and apply for a license for a live, 24-hour interactive public-affairs TV channel on the two major U.S. satcasters. An opportunity has opened to pursue such a channel because the Federal Communications Commission recently ruled that satellite broadcasters must make 4% of their channels available to public-interest programming.

Oxygen Media owns six female-oriented Internet properties and will gain a seventh, Oprah Online, in August. Oxygen plans to launch a cable network Feb. 2.

The Markle Foundation, a private philanthropic organization, is the largest grantmaking foundation concentrating exclusively on media and information technology.

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