Tuesday, November 5, 2019

In historic shift, The Salt Lake Tribune gets IRS approval to become a nonprofit

(Paul Fraghton | Tribune file photo) The Salt Lake Tribune's office building is at The Gateway in downtown Salt Lake City.

By Matt Canham
Published: 1 day ago
Updated: 21 hours ago

The Salt Lake Tribune is now a nonprofit, an unprecedented transformation for a legacy U.S. daily that is intended to bolster its financial prospects during a troubling time for journalism nationwide.

The IRS approved the shift in a letter dated Oct. 29, deeming The Tribune a 501(c)(3) public charity. That means supporters can start making tax deductible donations now.

The move from a for-profit model was spurred by Tribune owner Paul Huntsman, who, in agreeing to turn Utah’s largest paper into a nonprofit, is giving up his sole ownership.

“The current business model for local newspapers is broken and beyond repair,” said Huntsman, who also serves as The Tribune’s publisher. “We needed to find a way to sustain this vital community institution well beyond my ownership, and nonprofit status will help us do that. This is truly excellent news for all Utah residents and for local news organizations across the country.”

The Tribune, a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, will seek donations large and small, coupling them with revenue from advertising and subscriptions and a separate foundation. The Utah Journalism Foundation is creating an endowment to fund independent journalism in Utah, with The Tribune being a big beneficiary.

Those in the journalism industry have kept a close eye on The Tribune’s efforts, seeing it as a potential path forward for other struggling news outlets.

"This is an important decision that recognizes local news as a public good, something that strengthens the community," said Alberto Ibarg├╝en, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a nationwide leader in journalism philanthropy. "The model pioneered by The Salt Lake Tribune gives community leaders another way to build a sustainable future for local news, so citizens can get the trusted information they need to engage constructively in our democracy."

Read more: https://www.sltrib.com/news/2019/11/04/historic-shift-salt-lake/

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