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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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Filed Under: newspapers

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  1. identicon
    A Human Mind, 1 Oct 2007 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: Govt should and does prop up journalism

    The internet certainly brings a form of freedom of the press, but it still has to fight for ratings. Cheap news can mean cheap content. Real newsgathering is expensive:

    Daniel Hallin, chairman of the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego, points out what he calls “one of the greatest ironies” of today’s vast media landscape: “In this so-called information age, we actually have fewer reporters now gathering the basic information on which the whole information society operates.” According to Hallin, the proliferation of media outlets and programming is largely occurring in two domains: commentary and entertainment. “The amount of serious information-gathering is actually going down,” he says. “Dramatically so.” Few Web sites independent of newspapers are doing serious newsgathering. (emphasis added)
    Richard seems to prefer European news over other news. The article points out that most European countries have been subsidizing the press, both directly and indirectly, for decades. I wouldn't say that the govt should intend to prop up "nonsense news". The article points out NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as examples of how government subsidies had helped.

    Also, Richard's important reports do not seem to be publicized to his satisfaction in spite of inexpensive internet content. Excellent journalism may need help in being heard above the cheap chatter on the internet (and elsewhere).

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