Can Nonprofits Save Journalism? Legal Constraints and Opportunities

By Marion R. Fremont‐Smith

A paper by Marion R. Fremont‐Smith, Shorenstein Center faculty affiliate, examines whether nonprofit, tax‐exempt status might be a feasible option for some newspapers experiencing financial difficulties. Legal precedents, including IRS rulings, dating to the 1960s have held that this was not possible. This paper argues that the economic situation of the newspaper industry warrants reconsideration of these rulings, and examines the manner in which existing rulings could be interpreted to permit daily newspapers to qualify for exemption and become eligible to receive contributions and grants from the general public.

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