Levellers

Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

A Plan to Save U.S. Newspapers

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but amidst all the other economic bad news, the U.S. newspapers are in big trouble.  The recession/depression is the immediate problem, but the longterm bad news for newspapers is that their business model (sell advertising which reaches large amounts of people because of the paper’s wide circulation) no longer works.  Circulations are plummeting as people read the news online, watch it on TV (network and/or cable), listen to it on the radio, etc.  All for free.  So, many newspapers are going bankrupt or ceasing publication. Others are laying off reporters and staff, cutting back local reporting (the heart of their readership), etc.

None of this is good for our democracy.  We need a free press. We need more in-depth reporting than TV or radio can provide and we need more local reporting than online sources provide.  Enter, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and the Newspaper Revitalization Act.  Sen. Cardin’s plan to save our free press would allow those newspapers who wanted to do so to become non-profit enterprises, like Public radio and TV.  The idea is to save the local reporting.

I hope it works.

April 4, 2009 - Posted by | media reform

9 Comments

  1. I do love to read my newspaper. Unfortunately they are going the way of the goony bird !

    Comment by Paul | April 4, 2009

  2. I think Cardin’s plan could save them by taking away their need for advertising.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | April 4, 2009

  3. I wish newspapers would rethink their somewhat opaque filtering/shaping role and and focus strongly on an informed citizenry model. That takes resources. But the other problem is this: younger people don’t read newspapers anymore. Ask them. They don’t. I’m afraid the form is just passing away.

    I read my local newspaper for local news. That’s all.

    Comment by K Gray | April 4, 2009

  4. It is a shame. There is so little real journalism on TV, radio, and, especially cable. Unfortunately, as you say, they provide in-depth reporting, and few people really want that. Many want to be spoon-fed something on cable that they agree with, no matter that it is probably half true at best.

    Comment by Ralph Reed | April 4, 2009

  5. My Lord I just had a scary thought. What if our government takes over the failing newspapers ? Orwell’s 1984 will have arrived ?

    Comment by Paul | April 4, 2009

  6. But there is no plan for takeover of failing papers. Sen. Cardin’s plan would make them non-profits. PBS TV, which gets a small amount of federal funds, more from donor foundations, and the largest amount from individual viewers, is more the model. PBS is not run by the government. No “Big Brother” nightmares.

    Today’s press has been more controlled by big business, instead.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | April 4, 2009

  7. But there is no plan for takeover of failing papers. Sen. Cardin’s plan would make them non-profits. PBS TV, which gets a small amount of federal funds, more from donor foundations, and the largest amount from individual viewers, is more the model. PBS is not run by the government. No “Big Brother” nightmares.

    Today’s press has been more controlled by big business, instead.
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | April 5, 2009

  8. […] progressives don’t think it’s a good idea either. Who […]

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  9. […] progressives don’t think it’s a good idea either. Who […]

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