Seattle Times, Tampa Bay Times, Axios, Poynter Receive Loans Through Paycheck Protection Program

“This is a lifeline for us for the next 60 days,” Seattle Times President and CFO Alan Fisco tells the paper

The Seattle Times, the Tampa Bay Times, Axios and the Poynter Institute have revealed that they have received small business loans through the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

The Poynter Institute announced on Thursday that it had been granted a $737,400 loan after showing that 15% of its revenue was “at risk” due to the pandemic. The funding, Poynter President Neil Brown said, will help the non-profit organization avoid layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts, while also helping to offset costs for utilities and rent for the D.C.-based website PolitiFact, which is owned by Poynter.

“This loan buys us time to find new revenue sources while still offering online training and expertise, battling disinformation and chronicling the journalism industry’s hard and heroic efforts,” Brown said.

The Tampa Bay Times, which is owned by Poynter but is a for-profit company that operates independently, also announced last week that it received an $8.5 million loan. As a result, the Times said it was able to remove some of its staff from their furloughs and restore the 10% temporary pay cut that began in early March.

“This loan gives us more time to ride out the crisis before we have to make even more changes,” Times chairman and CEO Paul Tash told the paper. “It makes a big difference, and we are grateful for it.”

Meanwhile, President and Chief Financial Officer of the Seattle Times Co., Alan Fisco, told the Seattle Times that the company received $9.9 million.

“This is a lifeline for us for the next 60 days,” Fisco, who projected a 45% drop in advertising revenue for the month of April, told the paper. “There still may be some targeted reductions, but nothing to the extent of cuts we would have had to make without this support.”

And for Axios, the politics and business news site launched in 2017, its $5 million loan will help ensure the company’s nearly 200-person staff are not laid off or given pay cuts for the rest of the year, co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei said on Wednesday.

As TheWrap previously reported, numerous local news outlets have taken a serious hit as advertising has dropped due to the ongoing pandemic. The loan program, which received a $321 billion boost in funding, was first established in late March as part of Congress’ $2 trillion CARES Act in response to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses with fewer than 500 employees are eligible to apply for the loans and are incentivized to use the funding primarily to cover payroll costs.