Home / News & Events / Encyclopedia Britannica Acquires ProCon.org Commits to Running for 25 Years

Encyclopedia Britannica Acquires ProCon.org Commits to Running for 25 Years

By Hawley Troxell,

John F. Kurtz and Brad Frazer, partners with Hawley Troxell are proud to have had the opportunity to handle the legal work for Britannica Group’s acquisition of ProCon.org on a pro bono basis.  John Kurtz served on ProCon.org’s board from 2004 to 2018.  Please read the press release below for the full announcement.

We have exciting news to share about the future of ProCon.org!

The Britannica® Group today announced that it has acquired ProCon.org, the country’s leading source for information and research on all sides of the controversial issues of the day.

Serving more than 20 million online users each year, ProCon.org uses professional researchers and upholds rigorous editorial standards to explore more than 80 controversial issues, from gun control, immigration, and the Electoral College to vaping, mandatory school uniforms, and animal dissection as part of school experiments. Schools and teachers in all 50 U.S. states and 94 countries have used the site.

ProCon.org now becomes part of the Britannica product portfolio, and the company will maintain and expand its editorial content, which includes pages with well-researched pro and con arguments on major issues, lesson plans and other resources for teachers, and a collection of videos on critical thinking and a host of hotly debated topics. Britannica will continue serving students, teachers, and curious adults and to provide vital information to voters heading into the 2020 U.S. presidential and congressional elections.

The content at ProCon.org is freely available to the public and will remain so.

Britannica is committed to elevating better information in the digital universe and fighting knowledge dilution, according to Theodore Pappas, executive editor and chief development officer of Britannica and the new director of ProCon.org. Britannica has a host of initiatives, such as the company’s partnership with YouTube, aimed at fighting conspiracy theories and fake news. Taken together, they are making a substantial impact on the quality of the information environment. The ProCon.org acquisition is designed to fit seamlessly alongside these other programs.

“The ProCon format allows readers to get a balanced view of controversial topics, open their minds, cultivate empathy and hone their critical thinking,” said Pappas. “These skills are more important than ever today, in a world awash in questionable information and where sites with balanced views are difficult to find. ProCon.org will help us meet Britannica’s promise to ‘Save time. Learn more. Be Sure.’”

“I can’t think of anything more needed now, in an age of misinformation and intolerance for civil discourse, than critical thinking and a reasoned, balanced approach to understanding the controversial issues of the day, and that’s exactly what students and teachers alike have long found at ProCon.org. Britannica looks forward to furthering this worthy mission, in new and novel ways, for decades to come.”

“ProCon.org and its board of directors are thrilled that Encyclopaedia Britannica will be leading our organization well into the future,” said Steven Markoff, interim CEO and founder of ProCon.org. “Given Britannica’s incredible history of producing high-quality, nonpolitical, unbiased information for the world, and its technical expertise in the digital space, the 200 million readers and thousands of teachers who have relied on ProCon’s work for the past 15 years have much to look forward to with Britannica at its helm.”

About ProCon.org
ProCon.org was founded in 2004 as a nonprofit charity in California, headquartered in Santa Monica. ProCon.org is the country’s leading source for pro, con, and related research on controversial issues. Its mission is to promote critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, and primarily pro-con format. By presenting issues in this way, it aims to improve student performance, increase civic engagement, strengthen personal resiliency, bridge political divides, and stimulate critical thinking – the #1 skill sought by employers and educators.

About the Britannica Group
The Britannica Group is a global knowledge leader. Its famed encyclopedia has been published since 1768, and Britannica has been a pioneer in digital learning since the 1980s. The company today serves the needs of students, lifelong learners, and professionals by providing curriculum products, language-study courses, digital encyclopedias, and professional readiness training through its extensive products.

The company has continued to pioneer and redefine information discovery within the technology and education fields, serving 156 countries and 150 million students worldwide in 16 languages. The company’s mission to inspire curiosity and the joy of learning has earned it the ranking of the #1 company to watch in the EdTech Digest’s State of the EdTech report for 2019-2020. It is headquartered in Chicago.

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Tom Panelas
The Britannica Group