Shuttered by funding shortages last spring, the World Press Institute plans to try for a fresh start in 2008.

The institute, which was housed at Macalester College, brought hundreds of journalists from around the globe to learn about democratic press freedom. But dwindling financial support -- including the loss of a $125,000 annual grant from the McKnight Foundation -- prompted the institute to cancel its 2007 program and dismiss its staff in April.

Now the institute has repaid a debt to Macalester and established an endowment through the St. Paul Foundation, board chairwoman Ginny Morris said in a Dec. 20 letter to WPI supporters.

The group, which has cut ties with the college, also has a new executive director, David McDonald, an attorney who has hosted journalists through the program.

The institute hopes to raise enough money for an eight-week fellows program in 2008 that will have international journalists in the Twin Cities during the Republican National Convention in early September.

The program will be on a "less ambitious, slightly smaller scale than in years past," said Morris, who is also president of Hubbard Radio. "We really believe that the work of WPI is important -- potentially more important now than it was in 1961, when the program began."