Legislation was introduced in the Senate yesterday that would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits, providing major tax breaks for an industry in free fall, reports MarketWatch. Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin has proposed that newspapers could claim 501(c)(3) status in the same manner as public broadcasting, making advertising and subscription revenues exempt from taxation.
Cardin's legislation is pitched not at major newspaper conglomerates but at small local titles that have been particularly hit by the decline in advertising. The proposal is not expected to result in any substantial loss of revenue. In a statement, Cardin said that his legislation was meant to preserve "in-depth reporting that follows important issues, records events and exposes misdeeds."