Stewart Bainum’s journey to launch the Baltimore Banner


The Baltimore Banner website proudly displays a mission: “To be the leading provider of news and lifestyle content in the Baltimore metro area,” which Nielsen ranks as the 26th largest Designated Market Area (DMA) in the United States. Currently, the city has 11 newspapers, four broadcast TV news operations and a full-time news/talk radio outlet.

But when the well-known CEO of Choice Hotels International and philanthropist Stewart Bainum’s battle with Alden Capitol to acquire the Baltimore Sun from Tribune media failed, he turned to an already strategized "Plan B." He pledged $50 million of his own money to enter the market as a standalone, digital-only, nonprofit news platform: The Baltimore Banner.

E&P’s May 2022 cover story features an extensive piece from Contributing Editor Gretchen A. Peck, focusing on the formation of The Banner’s team that has assembled in their new waterfront offices downtown, the newsroom structure and the entire culture of the people behind this new news start-up. 

But in this 136th episode of "E&P Reports," Publisher Mike Blinder interviews the two senior managers of the parent company: The Venetoulis Institute for Local Journalism, Founder & Chairman Stewart Bainum, Jr. and CEO Imtiaz Patel, about their 18-month journey together, first to try to acquire the 184-year-old Baltimore Sun and then their "pivot" to launch a nonprofit news start-up The Baltimore Banner, to accomplish their mission to become Baltimore’s “leading provider of news and lifestyle content."


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