The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com will be donated to a new media institute in a complex transaction aimed at providing quality journalism for generations.

Currently, the publications and website are run by the Philadelphia Media Network, owned by Gerry Lenfest, who told Philly.com why the new institute at the nonprofit Philadelphia Foundation is of crucial importance to him.

"Of all the things I've done, this is the most important," Lenfest was quoted by Philly.com, "because of the journalism."

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The new arrangement, while unprecedented, is designed to ensure that public-interest reporting will remain preserved even as electronic distribution becomes more developed, Philly.com reported.

Within the Philadelphia Foundation, the new Institute for Journalism in New Media will be headed by a board composed mainly of journalism school deans and academic and foundation executives, the Washington Post reported in a related article.  

"[Lenfest] thinks that journalism is so fundamentally important to a great city and society, he wants to ensure it has a great future,” Philadelphia Media Network publisher and CEO Terrance C.Z. Egger said to Philly.com.

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Lenfest made his wealth as a cable executive and has donated billions to charity, the Washington Post added.

He was quoted in Philanthropy magazine, saying: “I think eventually it would be wonderful if nonprofits would own newspapers. … Eventually, I foresee foundations taking over newspapers.”

The Inquirer, the Daily News and Philly.com collectively reach more than 8 million readers per month, according to the Washington Post.