Guardian sets up a nonprofit to support its journalism
- 29th August 2017
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of the The Guardian's UK newspaper. Photo: Supplied
The Guardian, three years removed from a Pulitzer
Prize that helped spur the British newspaper's international
expansion, is fully embracing a new moneymaking strategy
in the face of industry-wide revenue problems: philanthropy.
company has established a nonprofit venture in the
United States, theguardian.org, to focus on tapping
philanthropic organisations - or even corporate foundations
and think tanks - for financial help to report on
issues including human rights and climate change.
White, president of theguardian.org, said the nonprofit's
charitable status would make it easier for more organisations
and private individuals, who might otherwise feel
conflicted about contributing to a for-profit newsroom,
unit, which received its tax-exempt status in October,
has been setting up partnerships since December. Since
then, theguardian.org has secured more than $US1 million
in funding from the Skoll Foundation, which was set
up by Jeff Skoll, the first president of eBay; Humanity
United, part of the Omidyar Group founded by eBay
founder Pierre Omidyar; and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation,
the organisation set up by the hotel entrepreneur.
pointed to the Skoll and Hilton foundations, in particular,
as philanthropic organisations that "wanted to
support quality discourse."
efforts, at a time when the news business is in upheaval
and has faced public attacks, have been helped by
foundations' increasing worries about the future of
the news industry, White said.
an awakening to this concern that some of the issues
that they hold dear are not getting coverage or there's
not enough information in the public sphere,"
Guardian's new nonprofit approach is in line with
the pitch it makes to readers: Rather than establish
a paywall on its website, the company includes a message
at the bottom of its stories asking for visitors to
subscribe or make a financial contribution.
Guardian has already used contributions from nonprofits,
including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation,
to help fund its reporting. Philanthropic partnerships
make up a relatively small portion - about 3.8 million
pounds, or $6.2 million - of the company's approximately
$347 million in revenues for the 12-month period that
ended April 2. But over the past 12 months, it has
received commitments of $7.5 million in multiyear
Guardian, which built on the success of its Pulitzer
Prize-winning coverage of leaks from Edward Snowden
by expanding in the United States in 2014, has had
to cut costs in order to stem its losses, which were
44.7 million pounds ($72.7 million) in the fiscal
year ending April 2017, compared with 68.7 million
pounds ($111.6) the year before.