Nov 12, 2019 - Economy & Business

Struggling media companies pivot to non-profits

illustration of a paperboy dropping trail of dollars
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Media companies are looking to transition into the non-profit world for survival, as non-profits can accept donations while still selling advertising space, like AARP.

Driving the news: A small Quebec newspaper called The Gleaner, facing near collapse, was salvaged by a community that instead worked together to pivot the for-profit media company into a non-profit, Nieman Lab reports.

  • A similar scenario played out in the U.S. last week, when the Salt Lake Tribune became a non-profit so that it could start soliciting donations.
  • "The current business model for local newspapers is broken and beyond repair," said Tribune Publisher and former owner Paul Huntsman."We needed to find a way to sustain this vital community institution well beyond my ownership, and nonprofit status will help us do that."

Yes, but: While non-profits like AARP and Smithsonian have major media presences, others have struggled to maintain strong media footprints.

  • The Center for American Progress, for example, shut down its media outlet ThinkProgress earlier this year.

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