By paulgillin | March 25, 2009 - 6:08 am - Posted in Facebook, Fake News, Hyper-local

We really like Sen. Ben Cardin’s idea that newspapers should be allowed to operate as nonprofits. We like it so much, in fact, that we’re going to be the first news organization to take the Senator up on the idea. So effective today, we are a nonprofit. Our $87.13 in monthly advertising revenue is tax-exempt and we welcome donations. We agree not to make any political endorsements, which is fine because we don’t like any of the candidates anyway. We do fear, however, that some newspaper companies may find it a tad more difficult to accept the Senator’s plan. They have this tiny problem of a couple or three billion dollars worth of debt to take care of. Maybe Sen. Cardin should attach a rider making the nonprofit option part of the bankruptcy code. That’s an idea we could really support. But for now, heck, keep those donations coming. PayPal preferred.

A Queensland University professor surveyed 200 first-year journalism students and four that few of them read newspapers. “More than 60 per cent read a printed newspaper once a week or less often. Yet 95 per cent said they enjoyed keeping up with news,” said Alan Knight. Their preferred sources are broadcast TV and the Internet. The survey was conducted online, which means it’s statistically invalid by default, and the brief press release doesn’t say how Prof. Knight limited response to first-year students. Still, it’s interesting and the prof plans parallel studies in other countries.



This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 at 6:08 am and is filed under Facebook, Fake News, Hyper-local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. March 25, 2009 @ 8:37 am


    The big problem is that if you lose money, you do not pay taxes anyway so there is no benefit. Plan sounds good on the surface but has a lot less meat than you think.

    You also should mention the little problem that newspapers cannot make political endorsements as part of the deal. I am politically conservative, so I am probably hurting myself here, but doesn’t this benefit people like Rupert Murdock who wont go non profit and hurt poorer, more left leaning publications who are forced to take the deal? Are we seeing the end of a free press? Sounds scary to me…

    Posted by paul
  2. March 25, 2009 @ 9:45 am

    As the owner of a small community newspaper, non-profit status would seem to work well. After expenses, I make just about enough money to pay my personal bills. Non-profit status will help keep the paper operating as opposed to the other option: closing it down and going back to work for a financially strapped newspaper.

    Posted by Fred
  3. March 25, 2009 @ 10:55 am

    Sweet. Less political coverage.

    How bout newspapers just report about puppy dogs and rainbows as well.

    Posted by Mike
  4. March 25, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

    Newspapers shouldn’t have a problem not making any endorsements on the editorial page. After all, they’ve moved those endorsements into their news coverage, especially in the 2008 campaign.

    Posted by RaiderDan
  5. March 25, 2009 @ 10:14 pm

    I’d suggest that it become statistically valid ASAP because on-line is quickly becoming the only way to get surveys to the people and the only way to get responses back.

    Printed paper is so pre-2,010’s.

    Its a waste of natural resources.

    Hell its arboricide.

    You have to:
    • find the trees (oil expended doing that),
    • cut them down (more oil expended doing that,[lost more oil needed for the loggers and the crew which keeps the loggers alive,])
    • get the entire mess back out of what used to be forest, (more oil used,)
    * saw the logs, (more oil used powering and lubricating the saws,)
    • pulp the logs (more oil used,)
    • roll the pulp into BIG rolls for transport (more oil used, possibly toxic bleaches etc.)
    • transport the rolls, (more oil used,)
    * put the rolls onto a press and print them up (more oil and other chemicals used,)
    • distribute the papers …

    Just be glad I’m not going into post-consumer oil expenditures, waste management etc.

    Why the Hell do we want newspapers anyway?

    We, as consumers, just want the news…

    We, as publishers, just want to get PAID for writing, editing and fact-checking the news. (We’d be very glad not to have to chase after the all-mighty dollar.)

    Now lets look at someone who’s:
    • getting PAID to deliver things all over,
    • we’re even subsidizing to deliver things all over,
    • someone who’s got a clear legal mandate to distribute things across borders.

    The Post Offices of every nation are seeing a sharp reduction in what they have to distribute because the internet is making them irrelevant. (But they CAN sell postal money orders [enough to cover the cost of a subscription,] and they CAN sell stamps. [enough to cover the cost of a single .PDF or audio or video file distributed via RSS.])

    One convenience (
    internet distribution of information to the consumer)
    and two difficulties, (
    printed anything is moribund &
    the post offices of the world spent all this money on IT infrastructure while
    the internet is making those expenditures irrelevant,)
    can combine into a win/win/win for everybody.

    Can you see where I’m going with this?

    Please, criticize the proposal and tell me what’s wrong with it…

    Posted by msbpodcast
  6. March 26, 2009 @ 5:47 am

    You mean get rid of the US Postal Service? It’s actually doing a pretty good job of doing that without anybody’s help.

    Posted by paulgillin
  7. March 31, 2009 @ 10:56 am

    […] para una serie de beneficios legales y tributarios. Aunque pueda ser una idea interesante, no es una idea que no venga acompañada de problemas. Pero también es cierto que uno de los modelos de generación de contenidos que está emergiendo […]