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Archive for the ‘Government subsidies for journalism’ Category

If you think government should subsidize journalism, check out the outcry over NPR’s firing of Juan Williams.

I’m not going to weigh in on whether Williams’ remarks should have been a firing offense. You can argue that in a circle with valid points on either side and I don’t care to. My point is simply that the hiring and firing of journalists and the standards of a news organization should not be a subject for Congress to waste a single minute on. Our founders wisely set journalism outside the government. Yet House Minority Leader (and perhaps the next House Speaker) John Boehner and other Republicans are calling for legislation to cut off NPR’s federal funding. (more…)

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The Federal Trade Commission meets today to discuss whether and how the federal government should subsidize and otherwise support journalism.

I’ve already blogged (critically) about the FTC’s involvement in this issue and about two specific proposals for government subsidies, and I won’t repeat those arguments here. But I do want to call attention to some other good writing on the issue: (more…)

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The federal government has lots of important issues it needs to deal with these days. It doesn’t need to deal with protecting newspapers. It shouldn’t protect newspapers. It can’t afford to protect with newspapers.

  1. Howard Owens
    howardowens Dear Uncle Sam: Butt out. We don’t need your interference in the news business.

The Federal Trade Commission wasted taxpayers’ money on a hearing last December on whether the government should take some action to prop up the nation’s faltering newspaper industry. The discussion will continue June 15 and an FTC staff report on discussion points makes clear that this exercise isn’t about saving journalism, but about saving newspapers. (more…)

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The weakness of the arguments for government subsidies for journalism can be seen in their inconsistency.

The advertising model that has supported journalism for more than a century has broken down, authors Robert McChesney and John Nichols argue in great detail in their book The Death and Life of American Journalism. They argue strongly for heavy government subsidies for journalism. And how would they finance the subsidies? One of the taxes they propose — and I’m pretty sure they were serious — is a tax on advertising.

After telling us emphatically that advertising is on its deathbed and can’t possibly support the journalism that our democracy needs to survive, they turn around without a hint of irony and insist that a tax on advertising is somehow going to help give new life to journalism. (more…)

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Sigh. The drumbeat for unwise government subsidies for journalism continues with a How to Save Journalism essay in The Nation. It was written by Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols, authors of The Death and Life of American Journalism, just published.

I hardly know where to start in addressing the faulty reasoning of the essay. It was not persuasive enough that I will buy the book. But government subsidies for journalism, for some reason, are a hot topic, so I weigh in once more. (more…)

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Here’s why I get so angry when smart and influential people in journalism and media operations about charging for content or seeking government subsidies or trying to protect and control their content: We keep falling further behind.

Everything you do takes time and energy and communicates priorities. You can mouth lip service about innovation, but if you spend your time and energy seeking ways to move backward, you don’t really innovate. Your own staff doesn’t take you seriously and the people trying to innovate get discouraged and don’t get the resources you need. (more…)

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Read this post in Russian, translated by Google. Читать этот пост на русском языке, перевод Google.

I love an old front page, especially a historic one.

As much as I spend my time trying to lead, prod and catch up in the digital world, nothing makes me stop and read like a yellowing front page with a historic story or photograph or both. I display historic front pages in my office, two mounted in permanent frames and others rotating into a case my son Joe designed for temporary display. I came to Siberia bearing my own historic front page as a gift to my hosts, and quickly decided I should give it to Yuri Purgin, director general of Altapress, publisher of 13 regional publications, based in Barnaul. I wanted to give him a copy of the June 13, 2008 Epic Surge edition of The Gazette. (more…)

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