Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
James Pindell is trying to bring The Boston Globe’s election coverage to everyone by being everywhere
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
March 14, 2013, 10:19 a.m.
salopek_lynch

Paul Salopek’s slow-journalism walk around the world earns nonprofit status from the IRS

It’s good news for his remarkable project, but also encouraging news for nonprofit news organizations in general.

salopek_lynch

You may remember Paul Salopek from our story about him in December. Paul, a two-time Pulitzer winner and a longtime foreign correspondent, was here last year as a visiting Nieman Fellow, and he’s now launched one of the world’s great journeys: walking around the world over the course of seven years, starting in Ethiopia near the birthplace of homo sapiens and walking across Asia and the Americas, tracking the course of human migration. We look forward to seeing him back in Cambridge sometime in 2020 or thereabouts.

Paul left in late January and is on his way. (You can follow his journey on Twitter, at National Geographic, or on his site.)

But back home, there was a logistical question that was also of interest to journalists with far tighter deadlines than Paul’s. Out of Eden Walk, the rubric under which Paul is traveling, applied for nonprofit, 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service. As longtime readers know, it has been a struggle for many aspiring nonprofit news organizations to get that status from the IRS.

Just 10 days ago, we told you about a new Council on Foundations/Knight Foundation report that calls the IRS’ rules for handling journalism nonprofits “antiquated and counterproductive.” Even when news organizations are granted nonprofit status, it can sometimes take two years or more — and many organizations are still waiting.

That’s why it was such a pleasant surprise to hear that Out of Eden Walk received its 501(c)(3) status on Feb. 28 — less than four months after applying. Our friend Jeff Hermes, director of the Digital Media Law Project here at Harvard, has the details:

The speed of this determination is not only remarkable for a journalism organization, but for a nonprofit organization of any type.

It is too early to say whether this marks a shift in the IRS’s attitude toward journalism as a whole; the Out of Eden Walk obviously has substantial differences from other nonprofit journalism ventures. It is nevertheless reassuring that the agency was so quickly able to reach a decision on the educational value in this innovative approach to reporting and storytelling.

Good news for Paul, and maybe a good sign for nonprofit journalism more broadly.

One last note, unrelated to the IRS but related to Paul: He’s asked for suggestions from the Internet on how to lighten his load of electronic gear as he shifts from using a pack camel to carrying his own gear on foot. Check out what he’s carrying and leave your suggestions on how he could best lighten his load.

Photo courtesy of Linda Lynch.

POSTED     March 14, 2013, 10:19 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
James Pindell is trying to bring The Boston Globe’s election coverage to everyone by being everywhere
“Whether it’s their inbox, whether it’s for Twitter, Facebook, Medium, Instagram — the idea is to reach audiences where they’re at.”
The New York Times collaborates with This American Life on a special investigative report
The New York Times is running its story Friday, while This American Life’s complementary report will air this weekend and be available for download as a podcast Sunday.
With an interface that looks like a chat platform, Quartz wants to text you the news in its new app
“The content type is always messages, and that’s always true whether you’re getting the message inside the app or as a notification.”
What to read next
0
tweets
Working with young reporters, City Bureau is telling the story of police misconduct in Chicago
“Those areas, more than any part of the city, have been disenfranchised over the past 100-plus years. Even though there’s coverage there, it’s often quick, one-hit coverage — parachute journalism.”
0The New York Times’ new Slack 2016 election bot sends readers’ questions straight to the newsroom
“Instead of asking you to come to us and be part of this massive room of people shouting over each other, you can bring us to you, and have us be, essentially, one more person in your conversation.”
020 years ago today, NYTimes.com debuted “on-line” on the web
“We all had a sense that something important was happening, but at the time there were actually very few users. So it was a bet on people getting online and buying more PCs.”
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 ➚
National Journal
The Economist
The Boston Globe
Circa
Conde Nast
BuzzFeed
Los Angeles Times
American Independent News Network
West Seattle Blog
Twitter
Ann Arbor News
Knight Foundation