Monday, August 9, 2010

Rick Edmonds: Newsweek as a Nonprofit

A few days ago, Poynter's Rick Edmonds put up a thoughtful post on the possibility that Newsweek magazine might be converted to a nonprofit by its new owner, 91-year-old Sidney Harman.

He makes a compelling case. Among other things, he cites Harman's interest in Newsweek as a "national treasure" and Harman's close relationship with Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute and a former editor of Time.

My only nit to pick with Rick's argument is that he says "a nonprofit would provide continued subsidies and a commitment to a public service mission."

Public service mission, yes, but subsidies, no.

The state-of-the-art models are all predicated on the notion that foundation money is seed money to build a business that can be sustained by diversified sources of revenue, including events, memberships and other means of revenue generation. Subsidies aren't part of the plan for those thinking long-term.

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