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Philly Newspapers Given To Foundation

By Andy Segedin - January 12, 2016

A Philadelphia nonprofit has entered into the newspaper business. H.F. Lenfest, sole owner of Philadelphia Media Network (PMN), which houses The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com, has donated the news sources to a newly created tax-exempt organization that will operate under The Philadelphia Foundation.

The new organization, the Institute for Journalism in New Media, will also receive a $20 million endowment from Lenfest. PMN, which has been converted into a public benefit corporation, will operate independently as a taxable subsidiary of the institute, according to a PMN release. Future donations to the institute’s endowment will be tax-deductible through the foundation.

“My goal is to ensure that the journalism traditionally provided by the printed newspapers is given a new life and prolonged, while new media formats for its distribution are being developed,” Lenfest said in a statement.

PMN will continue to operate under its current management team as to protect existing editorial independence. The institute will draw upon the research efforts of universities, implement possible solutions and train students in the field as a means of sustaining independent journalism.

Lenfest will serve as the initial chair of the institute’s Board of Managers. Other members of the 10-person board include Pedro Ramos, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Foundation; Michael X. Delli Carpini, dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication; and David Boardman, dean and professor of Temple University’s School of Media and Communication.

The Philadelphia Inquirer is not the only major-city publication to be owned by a nonprofit. The Tampa Bay Times was willed to the Modern Media Institute, now the Poynter Institute, by its former owner, Nelson Poynter, in 1978, according to the institute’s website. Like the Institute for Journalism in New Media, the Poynter Institute’s mission is to help lead instruction and innovation in the field of journalism.

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