Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why Nonprofits Need Newspapers

Georgetown University fellow Pablo Eisenberg writes about the mutually beneficial relationship between journalism and the nonprofit sector in a new article in the Carnegie Reporter entitled "Why Nonprofits Need Newspapers."

Eisenberg ably makes the case that the nonprofit sector, including foundations and individual philanthropists can help save journalism by providing a redoubt against the pressures of the market, particularly the one we're suffering now.

But with all respect to Eisenberg, he strays off track by arguing that philanthropists haven't shown any interest in saving newspapers. Individual donors, including a group that bid recently for the Boston Globe, indeed have shown significant interest in converting major dailies into nonprofits.

The problem is that the owners won't sell because in a depressed market they can generate marginally more profits by cutting operating costs and, of course, quality. This is exactly why the New York Times Co. pulled the Boston Globe off the auction block last month.

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