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Why does this sound familiar?

Posted at 4:18 PM on February 15, 2007 by Bill Wareham

wsj.com has an interesting article examining the challenges, primarily financial, facing newspapers. There's lots to chew on, and readers of this blog may not be as fascinated with these questions as I am, so let me highlight the part that caught my eye:

Not-for-profit status might be one possibility. Instead of having billionaire moguls as proprietors, we could try to turn them into philanthropists who found nonprofit organizations to buy and operate their local papers. At least one such example exists: the St. Petersburg Times, owned by the Poynter Foundation as a result of a bequest by Nelson Poynter.

Purchasing major newspapers would be costly and perhaps impractical, so a hybrid model may make more sense. We could create a pool of money (possibly from a license fee similar to how the BBC is funded). News organizations with an expensive but important project in mind could apply for funding, much the way producers in the public television world have for the last 40 years. Philanthropy could also play a role here, as Joan Kroc did when she left NPR a $200 million kitty.


A non-profit model for quality news coverage, could that possibly work?