A change for this newspaper
The Lakeville Journal Co. Editorial
This is a new era for The Lakeville Journal Company and all our publications, online and in print.
When The Lakeville Journal Company LLC board members first voted to seek nonprofit status with the IRS back in April of 2021, there was no guarantee that the initiative would be successful. After all, while some larger daily newspapers across the country (such as the Salt Lake Tribune and the Philadelphia Enquirer) have found ways to have nonprofit arms, few if any smaller ones have.
We have had unexpectedly strong support from community members during the past two years, which gave this small media company hope for the future. After an urgent plea for help at the end of 2019, The Lakeville Journal Company received an overwhelming positive response from our readers. It was our readers who saved us, without a promise of anything in return except having their local community newspapers, The Lakeville Journal and Millerton News, published each week.
This year, the company also received a second PPP loan, and substantial financial and organizational help from a local family, who wishes to remain anonymous, but is committed to the company’s ability to survive and thrive (with ongoing community support). They have been instrumental in making this process possible.
We pretty quickly found, with that family’s help, attorneys in Washington, D.C., who specialize in helping media make the change to nonprofit, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. And we found support right here in Connecticut. William S. Fish Jr., of Hinckley Allen & Snyder LLP in Hartford, who has worked with many large and small newspapers throughout the state for years, answered the call. The teams at both legal firms worked tirelessly to prepare the application and materials for the IRS and to be sure they reflected the reality of our publications clearly.
The application was sent in to the IRS in August, then a second round of requests from them was fulfilled in time for a Sept. 7 deadline. Then, we waited.
That waiting ended much more quickly than expected, on Sept. 22, when we received a letter from the IRS informing us they had approved The Lakeville Journal Foundation, Inc., to be the nonprofit owner of the company. With that decision, our former owners, who have since 1995 been determined to keep these publications independent and alive, have donated their investments forward to the new Foundation. The ownership of the company has passed on to our new nonprofit board members (for more on this, see the article by Executive Editor Cynthia Hochswender on Page A1 this week.)
Contributions made to The Lakeville Journal Foundation are now tax deductible according to the law. Our becoming a nonprofit should be seamless to you, our readers, but our more sound financial footing will allow us to enhance our reporting as time goes on. And we will now be eligible to apply for a range of grants available to nonprofits.
We will remain transparent in informing our readers on the process of our becoming a nonprofit media company, but the main and only change we know of is that we will no longer endorse candidates during elections. We will, however, continue to sponsor Candidate Forums with the League of Women Voters (as we are this week in Amenia, N.Y.) and to welcome opinion, including political opinion, in letters and columns.
Thank you to all who have so generously supported this media company during the past two years and before (see an update of contributors in this week’s newspaper), whether contributors, subscribers or advertisers, who ensured the survival of local and independent newspapers in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut and Northeastern Dutchess County in New York.
Our mission, which is published every week on our opinion page, will continue to be rooted in supporting a spirit of community and open information:
Our goal is to report the news of our communities accurately and fairly, and to foster the free flow of information and opinion.