Sunday, March 22, 2009

Is It Time For a Newspaper Bail-Out?

Johann Hari writes:

Since the mid-nineteenth century, newspaper readers haven't had to pick up the full tab for putting the paper together and delivering it to your breakfast table. First they were subsidized by governments or political parties. Then they were paid for primarily by advertisers who want to sell you stuff. The price on the cover is only a small fraction of the money it takes to pay for gathering the news.

This model is ailing now because, as Professor Paul Starr of Princeton explains: "Until recently, the Internet seemed primarily to be additive, vastly enlarging the opportunities for self-expression and public debate, while newspapers and other old media continued serving their old functions, such as financing the bulk of original reporting for the general public." You increasingly read it online, but the bill was picked up by print readers and print advertising.

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