by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:

Forget Google Supporting Newspapers; Now Some Think The Gov't Should Prop Up Newspapers

from the ah,-how-quickly-we-pretend-the-world-is-ending dept

It's no secret that many folks in the newspaper industry are freaked out by the market changes impacting what they do. However, we keep hearing increasingly bizarre suggestions for solutions. My personal favorite is still the idea that Google somehow has a moral obligation to just give money to journalists. The latest such suggestion may be even more far-fetched, with a long article at the Columbia Journalism Review suggesting it's time to start thinking about having the government prop up newspapers (via Romenesko). The good news is that many people asked about this suggestion respond with reasonable distaste (or outright horror) to the idea. The author of the piece brings up examples of government support for news operations, but in almost every case the scenario is quite different. Often, the gov't support is for getting something going in an areas where there's nothing, rather than propping up an industry that has had trouble adapting to a changing marketplace. The fact is that it's silly to think that there really aren't business models that can support a reasonable news operation (and yes, they need to realize it's a news operation, not a newspaper, if they want to survive). The demand for news and information continues to increase, as does the supply. It's certainly shifting business models around, but it's a huge opportunity for those who can spot the economic trends and adapt to them.

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  1. identicon
    Alisha, 30 Sep 2007 @ 4:58pm

    Newspapers, travel agents, which one is more irrel

    That reminds me of the travel agents and industry reps who went before Congress right after 911, begging and crying for their industry to be bailed out by the taxpayers, just like the airlines were going to be bailed out. One woman in particular warned Congress that America would suffer greatly with fewer travel agent professionals, yada yada yada... I wanted to throw something at the TV set, screaming 'you signed your own death warrant before 911, you travel agent nazi biatch!' I was a frequent traveler, and at that point had been booking my own travel since 1990, without much aid of a travel agent. The last trip I planned shortly before 911 included cashing in a very large travel voucher, a gift from one of the airlines for giving up my seat on a busy flight the year before. I couldn't find a travel agent willing to help me without charging me a service fee. All wanted to meet me only with schedued in advance appointments, telling me that processing this travel voucher was time-consuming and would cost me a service fee, blah blah blah. Basically letting me know that they were doing me a big favor. F--- you, travel nazi, newspaper publisher, airline exec, and all else who whine and cry about needing government protection from society's innovations and technological advancements. A friend referred me to the satellite office of my airline. They handled my travel voucher easily and in minutes, without any gnashing or gnawing of teeth. Six years and counting after 911, I still have never found reason to call a travel agent for anything, and I no longer subscribe to newspapers or magazines. My information and tailored content is now all brought to me online, and my favorite airlines email me directly with special travel offers and incentives. Like the travel nazi biatch, the newspapers have made themselves largely irrelevant in my daily life. News changes and breaks so frequently that a traditional newspaper subscription is an albatross around the neck of a self-proclaimed news junkie like myself.

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