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Smouldering Newspapers Fire Up Discussion

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

An ongoing discussion about the decline of newspapers seems to have reached a critical point in the last few days.

First, Chronicle-Herald columnist Dan Leger lamented the lack of funding for hard news coverage due to massive fragmentation of the advertising market:

Last year, Google collected more than a million dollars from advertisers here. Yet it doesn’t have a single representative in Nova Scotia, let alone a reporter or editor.

The Chron-Herald is planning major cuts to its newsroom.

Today, the discussion took a new turn, with an Op/Ed in the NY Times proposing a radical shift in funding models for newspapers: from advertising to endowments:

Enlightened philanthropists must act now or watch a vital component of American democracy fade into irrelevance.

. One response points to an existing example in the St. Petersburg Times.

What's strangely missing is any sense that not relying on advertising would result in a different structure or way of doing things. If a newspaper not a for-profit anymore, should not different standards of say, participation, transparency, democracy and accountability apply? Right now, the NYTimes can lie in the leadup to a war, and to the extent that they aren't embarrassed, just say "don't buy it if you don't like it".

When other funding kicks in, that logic fades out, and other standards start to appear.

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Topics: Media
222 words


Carlos Slim

I'd say the NYT is already there, given their newest infusion from Carlos Slim... http://uk.reuters.com/article/marketsNewsUS/idUKN2242001020090122

Well put - but

The newspapers will all be long gone before rich old men give up their savings for this impossible altruism. Newspapers should be independent, that is to say, their own entity. They must stand on their own two feet, beholden to no one but themselves. They could not serve the public adequately otherwise.

When the philantropists die, and when there is no cash left to support the enterprise, who will keep things running? The government? That's the last thing any of us want.

There is no solution to this problem yet. But rest assured, we'll think of something. And if we don't, we'll go kicking and screaming to our graves.

the real world order

Get real people . Every one is finding out that MSM is bought and paid for by the elite class . weather Murdock or Irving or what have you , we get what they pay for and at best that seems to be a bent truth .

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