Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Salt Lake Tribune Becomes Charitable Organization

The Salt Lake Tribune, a major paper of Salt Lake City, announced recently it converted its operation into a tax exempt charitable organization. The newspaper received its determination letter from the IRS on Oct 29.

From the Tribune: "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.”

This is not a new move. Both the Philadelphia Inquirer and apparently the Tampa Bay Times have made operational changes to be strongly associated with a nonprofit. As a result of the crash of the news industry generally, many have been long considering such a move. St. Louis Tribune thus is not new, but it is a suggestion that the trend might be getting stronger. 

Richard Schmalbeck of Duke Law School has written academically about the issue here. Sam Brunson, one of our co-bloggers, wrote comprehensively about the Salt Lake Tribune conversion and its practical tax legal implications here. This remains an issue worth following.

Philip Hackney




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