Tuesday, February 24, 2009

So what should newspapers do to stay alive?

Diane Aden Hayes writes:

At the Chicago Journalism Townhall on Sunday, many people had suggestions, but no consensus could be reached as to which solution will work.

An academic espoused going with a not-for-profit model, which sounds great, but certainly doesn't guarantee the kind of money will be there to do real, hard-hitting reporting, which often takes time to do right. This same person also suggested getting grants to do in-depth work, but that seems like an extra step that leaves no guarantees of success. It might work for national-level reporting, but will donors be interested in the investigation into a local county entity, or town council? Hardly.

And I can't see newspapers suddenly hiring grant writers to keep the money flowing in.

Then there's the idea of charging for on-line content. Some say it won't work, people won't pay for what they've gotten for free for 15 years. Others contend that people did start paying for music downloads, once Napster went kaput.

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