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January 13, 2016
Philly’s Remaining Two Newspapers Become Charity Cases
 
More evidence of the dire environment for newspapers comes from Philadelphia, where “Nearly Everybody Read The Bulletin” until it collapsed in 1982, and now the surviving Inquirer and Daily News are in the hands of a newly created nonprofit endowed with $20 million, which may not be enough to save them.

Associated Press reports that the two papers have been “turned over to a nonprofit institute in the hope that a new business model will help them survive the digital age and stanch years of layoffs and losses.”

“My goal,” says H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, a Philly philanthropist who’s bankrolling the two papers, “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.”

We’ll see. Let’s hope those “new media formats” arrive in time, in Philadelphia and elsewhere. The Inquirer has won 20 Pulitzer Prizes for excellence in journalism, and the tabloid Daily New three Pulitzers. The papers’ newsrooms have been consolidated and 46 staffers were laid off just before Christmas.

(Photo – H.F. Gerry Lenfest, left, owner and chairman of Philadelphia Media Network (PMN), Pedro A. Ramos, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation, Amy Buckman, public relations representative for PMN and Terry Egger, CEO of PMN, gather before a press conference at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pa., Tuesday Jan. 12, 2016. Lenfest announced that he will be donating PMN, the holding company for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com to a newly created nonprofit media institute. (Rich Schultz, Associated Press)

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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