Heritage Foundation to launch ‘straight-down-the-middle’ news site

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Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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In an attempt to remedy what it sees as the bias of mainstream news outlets, conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation is launching a news website called the Daily Signal on June 3, Bloomberg Businessweek's Joshua Green reports.

The Daily Signal will be a stand-alone site that offers “straight-down-the-middle journalism,” vice president of strategic communications Geoffrey Lysaught told Green. The site is also meant to be a response to new sites like Vox.com and FiveThirtyEight, which Heritage sees as having a liberal bias.

“We plan to do political and policy news,” Lysaught said to Green. “not with a conservative bent...”

But the stand-alone publication will not be completely free of right-wing commentary. The Daily Signal, which had its tablet and phone offerings designed by Atlantic Media Strategies (which also designed Atlantic Media's Quartz), will also feature an opinion section geared toward millennials in the hope its audience will be swayed by the think tank's political commentary.

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The Daily Signal's design is centered around what Ory Rinat, director of strategy and partnerships at Atlantic Media Strategies, calls “passion points,” or trending topics that appeal to Capitol Hill's politicos, journalists and activists alike.

Though the organization hopes to become a reliable news source for consumers on either side of the aisle, it's not an easy task to complete with an organization that has just a 12-person staff and a partisan agenda. To that end, the Daily Signal's main focus will be on publishing stories that the publication's editors feel are misconstrued.

“A lot of the traditional media, they’re lazy,” Lysaught said. “When they get up in the morning, they’re looking for what’s already working. I think they’ll look to us. We want to be the place where the news gets its news, drive that news narrative by identifying real stories, doing the homework, and let those guys run with the work we’ve already done.”

Being taken seriously as a non-partisan and impartial source of news born out of a partisan organization with plans to advance its conservative agenda is certainly a challenge. Take Fox News for example. As Green points out, the network is generally “ignored and ridiculed” outside of the right-wing circle.

But Lysaught remains optimistic that he and editor in chief Robert Bluey can deliver the news impartially.

“We recognize that what we’re doing is different,” Lysaught said. “I anticipate there’s going to be skepticism, people saying, ‘How can Heritage do this? This’ll just be a conservative spin organization.’ That’s not what this is. We’re taking this seriously. I appreciate the skepticism and look forward to proving people wrong.”

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