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Stewart Bainum on plans for the news journal "Baltimore Banner"

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Hotel magnate Stewart Bainum, Jr. is chairman of the new non-profit Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, parent of the planned online local news journal, "Baltimore Banner." (credit ChoiceHotels)

Tom's next guest is Stewart Bainum. He is a successful businessman (as board chair of the worldwide Choice Hotels chain), philanthropist, and former Maryland delegate and senator. Last year, he tried to buy the Baltimore Sun with the intention of turning it into a non-profit news organization focusing on local news. That effort was rebuffed by the Sun’s owners, a hedge fund called Alden Global Capital. Working with former Baltimore County Executive Ted Venetoulis, Bainum began planning a new local news operation, an on-line, multi-pronged platform that will be overseen by the Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, a not-for-profit foundation named in honor of Mr. Venetoulis, who passed away last month from pancreatic cancer.

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The non-profit foundation's stated mission is to deliver high-quality local journalism to the Baltimore metro region, through a multi-platform news operation whose focus will range from accountability journalism to local culture and the arts.

The new digital news journal will be called The Baltimore Banner, and plans now call for it to launch by the summer of 2022, with a staff of roughly 50 journalists. 

(Journalists and others interested in working for The Banner can apply on the Venetoulis Institute Website.)

Stewart Bainum joins us on Zoom from his office in Rockville, Maryland, to tell us more about the Banner enterprise, and what it could mean for local journalism.

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.