Brian Tierney’s New Journalism Venture
BREAKING: Journalism, as an industry, is suffering. Especially print. And especially those outlets that don’t mask funny cat mashups as journalism.
And Poynter, the nonprofit school and institute for journalism in Florida, knows it. That’s why they’ve recently announced the creation of the Poynter Foundation, a new avenue for the nonprofit to create a “culture of philanthropy” to help fund the institute. They’ve tapped none other than Brian Tierney, former head of Philadelphia Media Holdings and “nationally recognized expert in branding, marketing and advertising, and an accomplished entrepreneur,” as he’s called, according to a Poynter job ad, to head the foundation.
Poynter notes that their traditional source of revenue—dividends from the Tampa Bay Times, which Poynter owns; and tuition at its school in Florida—are no longer enough to keep the nonprofit going. Of Poynter’s $6 million budget, $2 million is raised from foundations and a local campaign.
Poynter is also “finalizing plans to market property, appraised at $2.5 million, around its campus in St. Petersburg, Fla,” according to a Tampa Tribune report.
“Journalism is now going through the perfect storm— changing readership habits, the powerful transformation of technology in the newsroom, a major recession, and a legacy business model. And in broadcast journalism there has been a splintering of national television audiences and the impact from cable TV. Journalism will need to identify and build a new self-sustaining model for the work once done by the daily newspaper,” reads the ad for a new Poynter Foundation vice president.
The VP of the foundation will report directly to Tierney and Dr. Karen Dunlap, president of the Poynter Institute.
Tierney’s tenure at Philadelphia Media Holdings, as the company which owned the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com was called then, were a bit rough. The group he led bought the papers and website from the McClatchly Company in 2006 for $515 million. They filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and were auctioned off to a group of hedge fund investors in the spring of 2010 for a mere $139 million. The auction came after the company launched a failed “Keep it Local!” advertising campaign (and some bizarre editorial ideas, such as a June 2010 edition that came with 3D glasses), meant to garner support against the company being owned by peeps from outside the city. Then earlier this year, the Philadelphia Media Network, as it is now called, sold again for $55 million.