HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Complicating the network: The year in social media research
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 long-time 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.
Complicating the network: The year in social media research
Journalist’s Resource sifts through the academic journals so you don’t have to. Here are 12 of the studies about social and digital media they found most interesting in 2014.
News in a remix-focused culture
“We have to stop thinking about how to leverage whatever hot social platform is making headlines and instead spend time understanding how communication is changing.”
Los Angeles is the content future
“Creative content people are frustrated with the industry and creating their content on their own terms. Sound familiar?”
What to read next
587
tweets
Complicating the network: The year in social media research
Journalist’s Resource sifts through the academic journals so you don’t have to. Here are 12 of the studies about social and digital media they found most interesting in 2014.
339Finance media’s hottest club is Ello
Business reporters flocking to the platform won’t radically change journalism, but it’s worth asking why users gather where they do.
305Why Google is taking another shot at helping readers pay for news
Google Contributor is the latest tool the company has designed to help readers pay for what they read online. But its previous experiments in supporting paid content have had limited success.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
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 ➚
Wired
Ann Arbor News
Facebook
The UpTake
O Globo
USA Today
Backfence
Global Voices
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
MinnPost
The Sunlight Foundation
San Francisco Chronicle