The Poynter Institute Exists Primarily to Lose Money

The Poynter Institute describes itself as "a school dedicated to teaching and inspiring of journalists and media leaders." Teaching media leaders how to lose money, presumably.

Jim Romenesko notes that Poynter lost $1.75 million in 2012, which was actually a great improvement over the $3.8 million it lost in 2011. This is not, mind you, a loss incurred for running an actual popular news outlet—it is strictly the loss of the Poynter Institute itself. Poynter is a funny old relic that ostensibly exists to improve the state of journalism via training seminars, webinars, informative media blogs, and the like. In fact, the vast majority of working members of the media know Poynter for two things:

1. They unceremoniously dumped the aforementioned Jim Romenesko, who then launched his own site, at which point everyone stopped reading Poynter.org.

2. They are the place to call when you have a story that needs a quote from an official "journalism ethics expert," which is otherwise a rather abstruse category to pin down.

It is beyond me why an organization that exists primarily for these two reasons needs to have a budget large enough to enable them to lose millions of dollars per year, but then again I am not an official journalism expert, unlike Poynter faculty.

The combined salaries of the chairman, treasurer, and president of Poynter in 2012 was more than $1 million, offering at least one clue. The kind souls who donate money to Poynter in support of the craft of journalism might consider instead donating directly to one of the many journalists who have been laid off.

[Pic via]