WITF and LNP | LancasterOnline Forge New Model for Local News, Community Education and Civic Engagement in Central Pennsylvania
Steinman Communications to gift LNP to WITF in philanthropic transaction
The Steinman Foundation and WITF establish The Steinman Institute for Civic Engagement
HARRISBURG, Pa. (April 26, 2023) – LNP Media Group, owned by Steinman Communications Inc., and WITF today announced that together the two organizations are forging a new model for local news, community education and civic engagement in Central Pennsylvania.
Steinman Communications, which is owned by the Steinman family, is gifting LNP to WITF as a capstone to the family’s two centuries of community service and philanthropy. As a result of the transaction, WITF and LNP will become a single mission-driven and sustainable enterprise that will:
- Expand and diversify local news platforms, educational programs and forums for civic engagement
- Build on their important work that shines a light on government decision-making, serves as a check on public spending and holds elected leaders accountable
- Deliver local news in ways that inform and inspire the communities they serve
- Fill the void in local journalism created as other media organizations retrench or close
- Expand equitable access to proven, effective education programs for learners regionally and statewide
With support from The Steinman Foundation, WITF also is establishing The Steinman Institute for Civic Engagement to support local journalism, education and community engagement.
The boards of directors for WITF and Steinman Communications (LNP’s parent corporation) have approved of the gift of LNP to WITF, which is expected to close in June. Steinman Communications is converting LNP to a Pennsylvania Benefit Corporation, a type of for-profit entity organized to responsibly create public benefit in addition to its business purpose. After the closing, LNP will be a benefit corporation and a subsidiary of WITF.
The Steinman family has owned and operated what today is LNP | LancasterOnline, Lancaster County’s top source of news and information, for nearly 158 years and four generations.
“To advance their legacy of supporting local journalism and media literacy, the Steinman family sought to pair LNP with another locally-based media organization – one with a self-perpetuating community board and a track record of strong leadership,” said Robert Krasne, chairman and CEO of Steinman Communications. “The family identified the perfect partner in WITF.”
Founded by educators in 1963, WITF has been an essential part of the civic, educational and cultural fabric of the Central Pennsylvania region for 60 years.
“With Steinman Communications’ gift, WITF and LNP mark a new era and an unprecedented leap forward in how they serve our community,” said Janice Snyder, chair of WITF’s board of directors. “The transfer of LNP to WITF is not only a gift to our public media organization, but a gift to every Central Pennsylvania resident – because a more vibrant institution for local news and community education makes for a more engaged citizenry and a healthier democracy.”
WITF President and CEO Ron Hetrick said, “WITF and LNP already share so much in common. We both emphasize innovation, education and civic engagement as keys to fostering a more informed and engaged citizenry. We both have deep roots in the region and share a focus on local news and journalism that holds people in power accountable to the public. We each have strong, collaborative relationships with other media organizations, which increases reporting capacity and ensures the public has greater access to important news and information.”
As a single locally owned and independent media organization, WITF and LNP will offer a comprehensive collection of media platforms and community programs including:
- Public radio station with regional news and NPR news and programming
- Public television station with locally produced and PBS programming for all ages
- The Morning Agenda podcast (a Central Pennsylvania news roundup)
- The Spark, a radio and digital program that strives to foster deeper understanding of important topics
- Journalism on topical issues including politics, climate, energy and healthcare
- LNP, Lancaster County’s daily newspaper
- LancasterOnline, the number one news site in Lancaster County
- Two weekly newspapers: The Lititz Record-Express (serving Lititz and Manheim) and The Ephrata Review (serving Ephrata and Cocalico)
- The Caucus (a state government accountability journalism publication)
- WITF.org featuring news, WITF productions and live streams
- WITFK PBS Kids, providing audiences including underrepresented communities with access to children’s programming over the air, online and via the PBS Kids app
- Educational programs for the classroom and for the community including Ready Set Explore, Explore in the Classroom and the Central PA Spelling Bee
- Mosaic, WITF’s hub for all things arts, culture and lifestyle
- Events that create opportunities for community engagement including The Spark Travels, News & Brews, and PBS program preview screenings
A focus on education will be a unique and notable aspect of the combined enterprise. WITF and LNP will leverage each other’s strengths to achieve their educational mission through increased early childhood education, STEM education, media literacy and civic engagement programs. Additionally, they will enhance training opportunities for reporters, editors and citizen journalists to hone their craft through internships, fellowships and professional development initiatives. With support from The Steinman Foundation, The Steinman Institute for Civic Engagement will advance journalism, professional development of journalists, innovation, community engagement and community-focused education initiatives.
“WITF and LNP also will continue to prioritize diversity, inclusion and belonging,” Hetrick said. “We will be a voice for all people, as the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 requires of public media. We are so excited for Central Pennsylvanians to discover all the ways this new partnership will serve our community even better.”
Ron Hetrick, WITF president and CEO, will lead the combined organization. Robert Krasne will be chair of the board of managers of The Steinman Institute for Civic Engagement.
Together, WITF and LNP will serve almost three million people – about a quarter of Pennsylvania’s population – in 19 counties in Central Pennsylvania including Lancaster County, which already has the highest concentration of WITF viewers and listeners.
WITF is a dynamic public media organization focused on creating and curating enriching content and experiences composed of, for and by the community – including NPR, PBS and WITF-original programming. WITF enriches the Central Pennsylvania community and beyond with nourishing, inclusive and accessible education, news and entertainment. WITF’s media services include public television (WITF TV and WITFK PBS KIDS 24/7), public radio (WITF 89.5 & 93.3), digital content (including witf.org, StateImpact Pennsylvania, Mosaic and ExplorePAhistory.com) and a production services division (Media Solutions). For more information, visit witf.org.
About LNP Media Group, Steinman Communications and The Steinman Foundation
For more than two centuries, the Steinman family of Lancaster, Pennsylvania has owned and operated a wide variety of businesses focused on serving the needs of local communities. Service on a local level runs deep in the Steinman family. And it runs deep in the family’s businesses, charitable giving and civic involvement as well. Today, the Steinman family operates Steinman Communications which includes LNP Media Group, Lancaster Farming and Susquehanna Printing. The Steinman Foundation is the largest, private philanthropic force in Lancaster County and works passionately and diligently to improve the quality of life in the communities that comprise Lancaster County.