LNP gifted to WITF to create new local news, civic engagement entity

Cris Collingwood//April 26, 2023


LNP gifted to WITF to create new local news, civic engagement entity

Cris Collingwood//April 26, 2023

LNP Media Group is gifting the majority of its news organizations, including LNP, to Harrisburg-based WITF to become a ‘single mission-driven and sustainable enterprise.’ 

LNP Media Group, owned by Steinman Communications Inc., and WITF, a public media organization, announced jointly Tuesday the two organizations are creating a new model for local news, community education and civic engagement in central Pennsylvania. 

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 two said in a press release. 

The boards of directors for WITF and Steinman Communications have approved the gift of LNP to WITF, which is expected to close in June.  

Steinman Communications is converting LNP to a Pennsylvania Benefit Corporation, a for-profit entity organized to 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 for nearly 158 years and four generations. 

In addition to LNP, WITF will take over The Lititz Record Express, The Ephrata Review and The Caucus. LNP Media Group said it will retain ownership of Lancaster Farming and Susquehanna Printing that will continue to print LNP.  

“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, who will chair the board of managers of The Steinman Institute for Civic Engagement. “The family identified the perfect partner in WITF.” 

Founded by educators in 1963, WITF has been part of the civic, educational and cultural fabric of the Central Pennsylvania region for 60 years, the release said. 

“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.” 

As a result of the transaction, WITF and LNP will: 

  • Expand and diversify local news platforms, educational programs and forums for civic engagement. 
  • Cover government and deliver local news. 
  • Expand equitable access to education programs for learners regionally and statewide.

“WITF and LNP already share so much in common,” said Ron Hetrick, WITF president and CEO, who will lead the new organization. “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.” 

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.”