A new weekly newspaper, Fréttatíminn (“The News Hour”), was published for the first time on Friday. The newspaper is owned by the publishing house Midopna Ltd. and edited by Jón Kaldal, the former editor of Fréttabladid daily and a former editor of Iceland Review.
The first cover of Fréttatíminn.
Midopna is funded with a loan from the American investor Michael Jenkins, who runs an investment fund on Wall Street. However, as he iterated to Fréttatíminn, it is not the fund but he personally who lends money to Midopna.
“I first came to Iceland in the summer of 2008 and was absolutely taken by the country. People are well educated and the interest in the cultural heritage was appealing to me. This country is unique,” Jenkins said.
“Despite the collapse I thought it obvious that there are great opportunities for long-term investments here. I got to know a few Icelanders and subsequently we launched a real estate development project through a company called Thórsgardur. It has been successful,” he added.
When asked about his interest in media, Jenkins stressed that he is only the loan granter and will never interfere with the redaction or the topics covered.
“It would of course be a little crazy if some guy in an office in New York, who neither speaks nor understands Icelandic, would interfere with the subject matter,” Jenkins commented. “I completely trust the people who work at the paper to do their job and hopefully the project will be so successful that the media will become sustainable.”
Jenkins believes the media both in the US and elsewhere did not do a good job before the financial collapse and the situation has not improved.
“There aren’t many people who are interested in investing in the media but I think it’s worth trying it out in Iceland. The market is reasonably large and the risk isn’t significant. I wouldn’t do it in New York; that would be too expensive an experiment,” Jenkins concluded.
Click here to read more about Kaldal leaving Fréttabladid.