Sunday, January 25, 2009

Should the newspaper industry get a bailout?

Should President Obama's $820 billion economic stimulus plan, zooming through Congress at the speed limit, include the tottering newspaper industry?

After all, is advancing the First Amendment any less important than advancing automobiling?

In a way the issues might overlap, considering that "the right of the people peaceably to assemble" is inextricably linked to their ability to travel. The motor car may well be a tool of freedom of expression.

So think of Madison as you crank up that shiny new Ford.

Seriously, a case could be made that the administration's offer to myriad businesses of tax credits on past profits should be extended to newspapers as well.

In France President Nicholas Sarkozy has already bailed out the French newspaper industry. In America as things stand there's clearly a shortage of tycoons in shining armor.

David Westphal of USC's Annenberg School indicates that desperate newspaper editors are willing to seek even philanthropy.
With for-profit media watching their news-gathering resources dwindle, some editors say they're open to the idea of seeking help from donors.
Whatever works, for now is indeed the time for all good men -- and women courtesy MacKinnon -- to come to the aid of the party (emphasis mine).


Rhonda said...

Media outlets shifting from a for-profit ownership model to a not-for-profit foundation has been made in the past...

The bail out model is difficult for the media industry as they don't have a business model that promises to work. As the industry shifts to on-line, the former staple of advertising revenue is just not transferring to the Internet.

Maybe the jig is up. Advertisers now have real numbers reflecting how many people are looking at or clicking on their ads. Before with print or broadcast, it was more voodoo than actual measurements of tangible results.

The problem now: How do you pay the bills while; a. receiving scant revenues for on-line advertising; and b. continuing to giving the product that you make away on the Internet?

This is not a business model for success nor an analogy of the auto industry! The auto makers can at least sell their cars and no one is giving them away --at least not yet!

The Intellectual Redneck said...

Do all our Congressmen and Congresswomen own bank stock? Nancy Pelosi wants more TARP money than the 700 billion already wasted

R. Ramesh said...

ya..seems the most sensible idea..the only words that i hear all around these days are "job cuts." First, it will be good for obama to take a second look at the third-rate condition of the Fourth Estate.