The internet and media are abuzz with the prospect of changes in the law which would permit newspapers to operate as non-profits. Michelle Malkin comments that And so, it has come to pass… after the well documented decline of newspaper revenues and profits.
If you were a reader of this blog, you would have seen this coming. On January 18, 2009, I posted Should Newspapers Become Charitable Organizations? In that post, I argued that converting to charitable status might allow newspapers to survive:
As newspapers around the country edge towards going out of business because of the internet (many local papers) and the loss of credibility (the NY Times), doesn’t it make sense for newspapers to reorganize, or reincorporate, as charitable organizations? They don’t make any money anyway, so why preserve the pretense of profit motive?
I also noted the problem that charities cannot endorse political candidates. The proposed laws would ban such political endorsements, as I predicted must be the case (and which would create problems for the New York Times:
There is one problem I do foresee. According to the IRS brochure, charitable organizations “must absolutely refrain from participating in the political campaigns of candidates for local, state, or federal office.” I guess that rules out the NY Times.Maybe we can have the best of all worlds.
A wide range of newspapers acting for the public benefit, tax deductible subscriptions, and no NY Times. You can’t take away my dreams!
So there are two morals to this story. Easing taxation can help businesses survive. And read this blog!