Tribune steps into a new world to save Utah’s oldest independent newspaper

SALT LAKE CITY — A newspaper becoming a nonprofit organization is what someone with a dark sense of humor might call redundant.

Newspapers around the U.S. struggle to make money in the digital age as advertising revenue has bled away to Google, Facebook, and even CraigsList.

But The Salt Lake Tribune is embracing the idea with optimism. They asked the IRS to give them nonprofit status, transforming their organization to one whose official mission matches what they think they’ve been all along: a public service organization.

The IRS gave them a much quicker “yes,” than they expected, says Tribune Editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce.

“I do think that Utahns have a lot of confidence in the reporting they get from the Tribune, and that will not change going forward,” Napier-Pearce said.

The Tribune now has the ability to receive tax-deductible donations, and they will get the tax benefits afforded other nonprofits, but Napier-Pearce said they have to do some quick work.

“We were not expecting this until the first quarter of 2020,” she said, laughing and explaining that the IRS was far quicker to say ‘yes’ to their proposal than they planned.

Among the things on their now rushed to-do list:

  • The subscription model
  • Appointing a Board of Directors
  • Negotiating their printing partnership with the Deseret News

It’s a lot, but Napier-Pearce is energized.

“Have I said I’m excited? I’m really excited!” she said.

Fox 13 News has a content-sharing partnership with the Tribune. Read more on this change at SLTrib.com.

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