May 10, 2019

Nonprofit Newspapers?

Nonprofit Newspapers?

When I was growing up, hearing the thud of the newspaper landing on our doormat was something I took for granted. Today, with so much of our news delivered on digital screens – and print newspapers an endangered species – I’m happy I can still every once in a while enjoy the ritual of actually reading the Sunday New York Times print edition.

That’s why I was interested when I saw that The Salt Lake City Tribune, a 148-year-old, Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper, is applying to the IRS for status as a nonprofit “community asset,” rather than a business. Like many newspapers, the Trib was losing money, and the owner is looking to a possible reincarnation to keep it alive. It’s a first for a U.S. daily.

It’s an innovative idea – and one that interested me, given the work we do in Marcum’s Nonprofit & Social Sector practice group. If it works out, it could be the start of a positive trend that could help save what’s left of the print news media. No matter where you stand on “fake news,” we still need real publications and well-trained journalists to cover what’s actually happening. The world depends on a free press.

With six publicists for every journalist today according to the journalism trade Muck Rack, there is a lot of important news that no longer gets any coverage, as I’m sure some of you have noticed. Many of the middle-market companies we serve do a great job of telling their own stories on their websites and through thought leadership content to fill in the gaps. Still, there’s no substitute for the thrill of getting recognized by a leading, independent publication for your fast growth, new product, or executive leaders. I always enjoy checking out those lists to see which of our clients’ names are on there.

I hope we’ll see some more out-of-the-box thinking by news organizations going forward. With the pre-election season kicking into high gear, we need the Fourth Estate to keep doing its work more than ever.

P.S. Sunday is Mother’s Day, I’m fortunate enough to still be able to celebrate and pay tribute to my own 86-year-old mother and Tracy’s mom, who is a number of years younger, as well as Tracy. So happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there. Enjoy your special day.