HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Why Storyful is expanding its business to work with brands
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Nov. 1, 2012, 1:30 p.m.

Nonprofit, for-profit, and all the shades in between: How to choose what kind of civic-minded news organization to start

A scholar at Harvard’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations runs through the options and how to evaluate them.

How to structure the organizations that produce journalism used to be a pretty simple question. Phase 1: Start a for-profit corporation. Phase 2: ? Phase 3: Profit!.

But as business models shift — and as nonprofit journalism continues to take up a larger (and more valuable) piece of the media pie — aspiring media moguls have an array of business entities available to choose from. A not-for-profit 501(c)3? A for-profit S corp or an LLC? A socially conscious B Corp? An L3C? A nonprofit that spawns a for-profit? In Delaware or in your home state? A 501(c)3 that starts its own 501(c)4? The options are dizzying; each comes with its own set of obligations and drawbacks, and many live at awkward intersections of state and federal law.

That’s why I’m glad our friends at Harvard’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations asked Marion Fremont-Smith to speak about:

the advantages and disadvantages of seeking tax exempt status and alternative forms for new enterprises. She will summarize both state and federal requirements for tax exempt organizations, and considerations when undertaking to seek such status, including governance requirements and considerations when choosing fiduciaries.

We’ve spoken with her before about these questions, but here she runs through the issues someone planning a new organization should be considering — and there are some interesting questions from the audience, starting 44 minutes in.

Her focus here isn’t limited to news organizations, but the lessons are highly applicable. The issues may be a little arcane to someone who isn’t in startup mode — but if you are, but it’s worth a listen. It might even save you a billable hour or two.

Note: Not much happens in the video, visually speaking, so if you just want the audio, here’s an MP3.

POSTED     Nov. 1, 2012, 1:30 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Why Storyful is expanding its business to work with brands
It’s one element of a broader expansion for the social news agency, which is also growing its product team and working on improving its core trend-detection technology.
An ad blocker for tragedies: How news sites handle content around sensitive stories
For stories like the Germanwings plane crash, The New York Times and many other publishers flip a switch to remove ads to avoid unwanted connections.
Newsonomics: BuzzFeed and The New York Times play Facebook’s ubiquity game
The ubiquity game has different rules for digital startups than for legacy businesses. But for both, figuring out the right relationship with Facebook is key to their audience strategies.
What to read next
2481
tweets
Millennials say keeping up with the news is important to them — but good luck getting them to pay for it
The new report from the Media Insight Project looks at millennials’ habits and attitudes toward news consumption: “I really wouldn’t pay for any type of news because as a citizen it’s my right to know the news.”
926The next stage in the battle for our attention: Our wrists
News companies have moved from print dollars to digital dimes to mobile pennies. Now, with the highly anticipated launch of the Apple Watch, the screens are getting even smaller. How are smart publishers thinking about the right way to serve users and maintain their attention on smartwatches?
792A wave of distributed content is coming — will publishers sink or swim?
Instead of just publishing to their own websites, news organizations are being asked to publish directly to platforms they don’t control. Is the hunt for readers enough to justify losing some independence?
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Media Consortium
TechCrunch
Bloomberg Businessweek
Baristanet
The Batavian
The Miami Herald
Voice of San Diego
Al Jazeera
New England Center for Investigative Reporting
Seattle PostGlobe
Hechinger Report
Reuters