January 12, 2016 / 10:40 AM / in 2 years

Philadelphia newspapers, website donated to non-profit institute

(Reuters) - The owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and the website Philly.com has donated the news organizations to a newly created non-profit institute, the Inquirer reported on Tuesday.

H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest told the Inquirer the donation was an effort to preserve independent journalism in Philadelphia and protect traditional print newspapers at a time of shrinking readership and revenues from advertisements.

Lenfest has given $20 million to endow the new non-profit group, called the Institute for Journalism in New Media , a subsidiary of the Philadelphia Foundation, the Inquirer said.

The move comes two months after the Philadelphia Media Network, the parent company of the newspapers and website, merged the three newsrooms to save $5 million to $6 million. Last month, 46 reporters were laid off by the company.

Terrance C.Z. Egger, the publisher of the Philadelphia Media Network, said the institute will own the news outlets but will have no governance power over them. The outlets will remain for-profit and the editorial functions at all three will remain independent of the institute.

Money from grants will be used to finance specific journalism projects but will not fund general operating expenses, he said.

Lenfest and his late business partner Lewis Katz won control of the Philadelphia Media Network at auction in 2014. Katz was killed in a plane crash the same year.

Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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