The owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and their website has announced he has donated the news organizations to a newly created nonprofit institute. Philanthropist HF "Gerry" Lenfest said in a statement early Tuesday that he has given $20 million to help endow the Institute for Journalism in New Media. "My goal is to ensure that the journalism traditionally provided by the printed newspapers is given a new life and prolonged, while new media formats for its distribution are being developed," Lenfest said. He added that the news organizations will remain committed to producing "independent public service journalism and investigative reporting that positively impacts the community, while also creating innovative multimedia content."
Lenfest, who bought the news company for $88 million in May 2014 at auction, said it "must meet our readers where they are—and where they are going in the future—as well as develop fresh ways in which advertisers can reach these engaged daily readers in print and online." It's envisioned that corporations and other benefactors could make donations to the institute to support specific journalism projects and reporting efforts, in ways similar to how professors' chairs at universities are endowed. The Philadelphia Media Network—which laid off dozens of journalists after consolidating its newsrooms late last year—will remain a self-governing, for-profit company, owned by the institute and run by the news organizations' current management team and board of directors. (Read more Philadelphia Daily News stories.)