2010 Utah L. Rev. 1315 (2010)
The Quest to Save Journalism: A Legal Analysis of New Models for Newspapers from Nonprofit Tax-Exempt Organizations to L3Cs

handle is hein.journals/utahlr2010 and id is 1323 raw text is: THE QUEST TO SAVE JOURNALISM: A LEGAL ANALYSIS OF NEW
MODELS FOR NEWSPAPERS FROM NONPROFIT TAx-EXEMPT
ORGANIZATIONS TO L3Cs
Nikki Usher & Michelle D. Layser*
I. INTRODUCTION
The proliferation of online news sources masks a deepening crisis in
American journalism. Newspapers, which continue to be the linchpin of original
news reporting,' are facing unprecedented economic pressures-largely due to the
rise of new media-that have forced nearly all major newspapers to lay off large
numbers of journalists, reduce the scope of coverage, and sometimes cease
operating entirely. The current economic crisis has only exacerbated existing
forces already undermining the viability of the newspaper industry. The traditional
support from commercial advertising and paper subscription base now seems
antiquated, and the question looming before American journalism is what the next
operating model will be.2 As such, a broad spectrum of publicly minded
individuals and institutions has tried to find solutions for the ailing industry.3 One
proposal that has gained traction has been to allow commercial newspapers to
qualify for tax exemption.4 What has been lacking thus far is a comprehensive
legal analysis of what a tax-exempt nonprofit newspaper can and should look like.
This Article seeks to fill that gap by explicating the viability, problems, and
benefits of particular legal structures these nonprofit newspapers might employ.
* 0 2010 Nikki Usher and Michelle D. Layser; Nikki Usher, M.A., is an Assistant
Lecturer and doctoral candidate at University of Southern California Annenberg School for
Communication & Journalism. Michelle Layser earned her J.D. (2009) from University of
Southern California Law School and her LL.M. in Taxation (2010) from New York
University Law School. The authors would like to thank Jill Manny, Ellen Aprill, Michael
Shapiro, Herbert Gans, and Jennifer Seymour for their comments on this Article.
1 LEONARD DOWNIE & ROBERT KAISER, THE NEWS ABOUT THE NEWS: AMERICAN
JOURNALISM IN PERIL 64 (2002).
2 See, e.g., Creating a New Model for Regional Journalism in America, THE FUTURE
OF NEWS, http://thefutureofnews.ning.com/ (last visited Dec. 4, 2010); Scott Smith,
CMFC    Videos Are Up!, THE CHI. MEDIA FUTURE CONF. (July 23, 2009),
http://www.chicagomediafuture.org/; The 2010 Future of the News and Civic Media
Conference @ MTT, CENTER FOR FUTURE CIVIC MEDIA, http://civic.mit.edu/
conference2010 (last visited Dec. 3, 2010); Workshop: Future of the News, CENTER FOR
INFO. TECH. POL'Y, http://citp.princeton.edu/future-of-news/ (last visited Dec. 3, 2010).
3 See, e.g., sources cited supra note 2.
4 Chris Bowers, The Non-profit Future ofNews, OPEN LEFT (June 4, 2009, 3:48 PM),
http://www.openleft.com/diary/1 3628/the-nonprofit-future-of-news;  Carol  Guensburg,
Nonprofit News, AM. JOURNALISM REV. (Feb.IMar. 2008), http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?
id=4458.

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