Media

Joe Ricketts to launch news outlet from Nebraska

Billionaire TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, the father of Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R), has announced he will launch an Omaha-based national news outlet.

Although Joe Ricketts is a longtime backer of Republican candidates, he told the Omaha World-Herald the venture, tentatively called Straight Arrow News, would be without a political slant.

"I think there's a gap in the market - there's no source for unbiased, fact-based news. And I believe there's a business opportunity there," Ricketts told the newspaper.

The company, incorporated last year in Delaware, shares a New York address with Ricketts's holding company Hugo Enterprises. Ricketts declined to say how many staffers he is seeking to hire but said they would not necessarily be restricted to Omaha residents.

Ricketts previously launched DNAinfo, which covered local news in both New York and Chicago, more than 10 years ago, merging it with New York news site Gothamist after purchasing it in 2017. He shuttered the site that November after its workers voted to unionize.

Gary Kebbel, a professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, told the Omaha World-Herald he believes there is a market for agenda-free news but cautioned that people who lean liberal or conservative often perceive coverage that affirms their worldview as more neutral.

"I wonder if people would be open to it knowing [Ricketts's] background as a conservative, and if that will bring a certain amount of audience," he said. "Or will they be ticked off if it's not conservative enough, or ticked off if it's truly nonbiased and nonpartisan?"

Ricketts has said no other members of his family will be involved in the outlet. Although his children include the GOP governor, his daughter Laura was a major bundler for then-President Obama.

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