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Posted by on Jan 6, 2009 in Uncategorized | 5 comments

Journalism Bailout May Come To A Paper Near You

Several have predicted that there will be some kind of Government intervention in the media industry in 2009 as traditional media continues to struggle. Though it is unclear as to President-Elect Barack Obama’s views on such a move, many see a clear need for a bailout.

Back in November, Connecticut State Representatives petitioned the sate to subsidize Bristol Press and The Herald of New Britain. Though the state did grant tax relief and training subsidies to the papers, no cash was given out.

Sara Catania recently argued in the Huffington Post for government-subsidized journalism, which would provide grants for journalists. Getting paid by a non-profit entity funded by the government would allow for some distance between journalists and government and restrict any conflict of interest problems.

Sara Catania

Sara Catania

Many disagree with such assistance to the media or to journalists in particular. Blogger Duncan Riley writes, “If Sara Catania cannot find adequate compensation for her work, then as it would be in any other person, she needs to adjust what she is doing, or simply find another line of work.”

The issue remains whether or not journalism can be seen as a public service, whether the investigative reporting that results from journalists should be supported even if it is not as profitable as it once was. If journalism can be seen to have a value above its market value, then the government should consider stepping in, as it does with every other public good (parks, museums, etc.). In order to employ journalists, who, as educated and intelligent people on the whole, could easily find other work, someone has to pay them decent wages.

“The late, great David Halberstam once described the life of a journalist as a donation to society, and I can abide that, to a point,” wrote Catania. “I never expected to rake in the bucks, only to make enough to contribute my share to the family coffers. It seems a reasonable expectation.”

The issue of deserved pay aside, it may be incomplete to argue that new media is hands down the future of journalism. It certainly has a role to play and has changed the way news organizations present their news and the way some news breaks, but it is choppy at best. Though traditional media should adapt to the evolution of new media, new media do not break the kind of news that a traditional news organization does.

“Those among us who are dedicated to the work, who have the experience and the desire and the hunger to continue, want a chance to do what we love and keep the stories coming,” Catania wrote. “We don’t promise that the stories will be flattering, but we do promise that they will be honest, fair and well-reported. We can’t hang on much longer.”

  • you have no clue!

    “Connecticut State Representatives petitioned the sate to subsidize Bristol Press and The Herald of New Britain” …. NO THEY DIDN’T!

    They highlighted tax breaks and job training opportunities that are open to ALL businesses in CT … LAZY REPORTING IS WHY THE INDUSTRY IS HURTING … check your facts!!!

  • http://www.shoeboxed.com Dan Englander

    Here are my facts for you to check:

    Legislators to DECD 2008-11-25 Publish at Scribd or explore others: Health US Federal legislation Law

  • FarquarDunlap

    Although its unclear how Hamas leaders feel about the issue, one thing is clear: Destructive email blog missiles and other scuds will continue to be fired across the bow of all traditional newspapers by web journos with nothing but time on their hands and little resources or ability to actually venture out of their mother’s basements to attend an honest-to-goodness press conference and gather an actual fact.
    Armed with little more than a AAA roadmap, blogging whizzes – such as Dan Englander – take aim with one hope: That a witty headline alone will serve to guide many retaliatory strikes.
    Far from being after actual truth, bloggers like Englander fear no editor as they lock and load, reports targeted in scatter-shot approach to ‘covering’ controversial topics.
    As this response would indicate, that appears to be working. However, even to those who might assent to the overly generous world view that any journalism is journalism, after all, others with a basic sense of what constitutes journalistic standards are invariably disappointed. Even sites as venerable as The Huffington Post missed the mark on this story. The distortion began with MacMullen’s blogging discourse, carried on the once-reliable Reuters of all places, headlined “Newspaper Bailout.”
    Unfortunately, private investors have actually purchased the newspapers mentioned. Like other investors in manufacturing industry the new owner might – or might not – take advantage of the existing job creation tax credits, etc., which any other manufacturing company – and even a retailer such as Cabela’s – could seek.
    Call that a ‘bailout’ if you wish. But, if that is your definition of ‘bailout’, from now on I intend to start calling the dollar I put in the tip box a “barrista bailout.” It seems only fair. Put that in your blog and smoke it.

  • http://www.shoeboxed.com Dan Englander

    FarquarDunlap,

    Thanks for your comment. Although you seem disappointed the bias of new media journalists, including this blogging whiz, the fact remains that when this story was written yesterday, there were many reports that these papers were seeking government help. There was significant speculation that a bailout was indeed a possibility, as this article said. Nobody reported that the government bailout was happening and nobody said today’s purchase of these papers (http://www.courant.com/business/hc-schroeder0108.artjan08,0,6758403.story) is a “bailout”.

    Thanks for reading!

    Dan

  • bob jones

    you are awsome