Meet The Salt Lake Tribune, 501(c)(3): The IRS has granted nonprofit status to a daily newspaper for the first time


It was a “happy surprise,” Fraser Nelson said when The Salt Lake Tribune received a letter from the IRS on Friday giving the 148-year-old news outlet nonprofit 501(c)(3) status — no questions asked.

A final verdict on whether the Tribune could become the first legacy newspaper in the U.S. to go fully nonprofit wasn’t expected until early 2020, Nelson (vice president of business innovation) and Jennifer Napier-Pearce (editor-in-chief) told me. It had received approval for the parallel Utah Journalism Foundation a few months ago — also with no questions, but that was a more straightforward request. This approval opens the doors for many more commercial legacy newspapers to seek tax-deductible status and philanthropic funding — a potential lifeline for local news outlets whose owners agree to give up control.

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