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Discussion Starter #1
Oy vey.

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U.S. bill seeks to rescue faltering newspapers
Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:05pm EDT
By Thomas Ferraro

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

"This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat," said Senator Benjamin Cardin.

A Cardin spokesman said the bill had yet to attract any co-sponsors, but had sparked plenty of interest within the media, which has seen plunging revenues and many journalist layoffs.

Cardin's Newspaper Revitalization Act would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies.

Under this arrangement, newspapers would still be free to report on all issues, including political campaigns. But they would be prohibited from making political endorsements.

Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax exempt, and contributions to support news coverage or operations could be tax deductible.

Because newspaper profits have been falling in recent years, "no substantial loss of federal revenue" was expected under the legislation, Cardin's office said in a statement.

Cardin's office said his bill was aimed at preserving local and community newspapers, not conglomerates which may also own radio and TV stations. His bill would also let a non-profit buy newspapers owned by a conglomerate.

"We are losing our newspaper industry," Cardin said. "The economy has caused an immediate problem, but the business model for newspapers, based on circulation and advertising revenue, is broken, and that is a real tragedy for communities across the nation and for our democracy.

Newspaper subscriptions and advertising have shrunk dramatically in the past few years as Americans have turned more and more to the Internet or television for information.

In recent months, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Rocky Mountain News, the Baltimore Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle have ceased daily publication or announced that they may have to stop publishing.

In December the Tribune Company, which owns a number of newspapers including The Baltimore Sun, The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times filed for bankruptcy protection.

Two newspaper chains, Gannett Co Inc and Advance Publications, on Monday announced employee furloughs. It will be the second furlough this year at Gannett.

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I like the idea of no political endorsements.

I'd also LOVE to see more separation between the OPINION page and the NEWS page.

But for crimeney's sake. What's the matter with the market sorting these things out, rather than sticky government hands? The ChiTrib has survived all these years by being the best paper possible in Chi. If it can't maintain that rep -- and newsies go elsewhere to get their info -- then maybe it IS time to shutter it.

How many buggywhip companies or buttonhook mfrs could also have been deemed too big to fail??
 

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Ok... we need banks... I don't think we "need" newspapers.

I REALLY WISH THEY WOULD SPEND ALL THIS MONEY ON ROADS AND BRIDGES ETC.
 

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Ok... we need banks... I don't think we "need" newspapers.
Especially in 2009 when so much is moving towards online content. I have never in my life subscribed to a newspaper. Everywhere I've lived, it's been online. Plus, it seems so wasteful, why use paper when I can read it online?
 

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Especially in 2009 when so much is moving towards online content. I have never in my life subscribed to a newspaper. Everywhere I've lived, it's been online. Plus, it seems so wasteful, why use paper when I can read it online?
Where does the revenue come from that finances your online content? I'm not in favor of a bailout, but Google ads are not going to subsidize a healthy journalism industry. I'm not aware of a workable online business model right now that doesn't depend either on print subscriptions or patronage (e.g., Huffington).
 

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IMO, the newspaper crisis is a very serious problem for our whole country (& world).

As I understand it, newspapers have relied for over 150 years on income from advertising (classifieds, other ads) supporting the publication, the journalists, etc.

Craig's List and other online ad venues have taken a really severe bite (already fatal to some) from newspapers' usual revenue stream.

As a result, most have drastically cut back staff, size, pages, coverage, services.

Investigative journalism -- the kind of reporting that exposed Watergate, the recent inadequate housing of & service to wounded vets at Walter Reed, Sen. Ted Stevens handling of $$$ in Alaska, Sen. Edwards affair with a campaign worker, Ted Kennedy & Mary Jane, and millions more examples -- already has and increasingly will become severely curtailed or eliminated.

An informed electorate relies on the produce of good journalism and good newspapers.

I don't care whether it's online or onpaper, but our country very much needs good investigative reporters and reporting at all levels -- town, city, county, state, region, and national.

IT'S CRITICALLY URGENT TO FIND A WAY TO KEEP UP & SUPPORT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM AND REPORTING AT MANY LEVELS -- SCHOOLS OF JOURNALISM, CAREER LADDERS, DISSEMINATION!!


Otherwise, we'll be served increasing doses of Glenn Beck and Larry King as a substitute for news. :eek:

 

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Especially in 2009 when so much is moving towards online content. I have never in my life subscribed to a newspaper. Everywhere I've lived, it's been online. Plus, it seems so wasteful, why use paper when I can read it online?
You don't think that if/when most or all newspapers disppear from the racks that you will eventually have to pay to read online papers? Someone has to pay to get the stories, i.e., travel to places to get those stories, etc. I just have a feeling that online papers won't be free forever.
 

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You don't think that if/when most or all newspapers disppear from the racks that you will eventually have to pay to read online papers? Someone has to pay to get the stories, i.e., travel to places to get those stories, etc. I just have a feeling that online papers won't be free forever.
Maybe so, but I've seen several headlines over the last few months of papers that have stopped doing paper circulation and resorted to just online editions. I'd have to double check, but I thought they were free.

Where does the revenue come from that finances your online content? I'm not in favor of a bailout, but Google ads are not going to subsidize a healthy journalism industry. I'm not aware of a workable online business model right now that doesn't depend either on print subscriptions or patronage (e.g., Huffington).
Smurf Nathan, I don't know. Stop asking difficult questions. Maybe they will charge a fee for online viewing like Betsy mentioned. I guess my point is that I don't see bailouts working because the current model is fatally flawed. It's like bailing out VCRs because they struggled against DVDs. I don't think it's something that is going to continue...like landlines. The only exception is if my assumption is wrong. Do you think my generation and the next will buy subscriptions to physical newspapers?

Plus, England is broke.
 

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I have a wild-ass guess that in the next several years we will see media aggregators coming up that will allow you to buy information subscriptions along with your Internet service, and there will be a zillion and one customizable options. Content owners will get payments based on flat fees and usage. This is sort of how publishing works in the library market now. For the consumer, it will be a tiny fraction of your cable/Internet bill and will be sort-of hidden, and thus easier to swallow than seeing all those individual subscriptions to papers. Already when you subscribe to a mobile data plan you have the option of something like that on a much smaller scale.

Of course, smaller players hosting truly valuable and labor-intensive content (New Yorker etc.) will have online subscriptions. Just tough to make work right now because people believe that "information wants to be free!!!1111 zomg!"

The problem, as I'm sure I've said here a million times, is that the manufacturing and distribution of print product is really a small portion of what it takes to publish something. In my area of publishing, we sink 70+% of our costs into a book before we print the first copy.

P.S. England is busticated.
 

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CNN is tv news. is their investigative journalism not good? i don't keep myself as informed as i should, but i'm curious if print news is better/more accurate than tv news. also, same question for local tv news vs local newspaper news.
 

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I have a family member at CNN, and I can tell you that at least on the domestic side, they do very little investigative reporting these days. That's not to say it's not being done in TV, but it's a different thing--very short pieces on a quick news cycle. And their ad revenues dwarf anything that print journalism could get. Maybe 60 Minutes and PBS's NOW are examples of investigative journalism on par with what newspapers and magazines can do, since they have 20-60 minutes to tell a story.

Oh, one other thing, though--even without the bailout (which I also don't think is a good idea because it just delays the inevitable), nonprofit status is a good idea. Mother Jones did this years ago and they've been able to make it work. There are plenty of organizations that are kept afloat solely because of patronage (the New Republic is another, and I doubt that the National Review or Commentary pay all their bills through subscriptions and ads).
 

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CNN is tv news. is their investigative journalism not good?
Good or not, it's not going to cover all cities, counties, states the way local newspapers do.

i don't keep myself as informed as i should, but i'm curious if print news is better/more accurate than tv news. also, same question for local tv news vs local newspaper news.
It all depends on the particular newspaper and particular TV station or group.

The NYTimes and Washington Post are considered by many to be among the least biased and objective. The Washington Times and NY Daily News don't carry those reputations.

Fox TV ("Fair and balanced" ) is considered by many (except Fox devotees) to be among the most biased (e.g., Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck) under the direction of Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch.
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1067




 

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Even more than NYT and WP, it's AP and Reuters that drive the global news industry these days. They have more reporters in more places than anyone else. If you have a small-town newspaper, chances are you're getting your national/international news from one of those sources. And they've got to get paid.

The Wall Street Journal has terrific reporters, too. As with the NYT and WP, it's important to distinguish the editorial page from the hard news side.
 

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IMO, the newspaper crisis is a very serious problem for our whole country (& world).

As I understand it, newspapers have relied for over 150 years on income from advertising (classifieds, other ads) supporting the publication, the journalists, etc.

Craig's List and other online ad venues have taken a really severe bite (already fatal to some) from newspapers' usual revenue stream.

As a result, most have drastically cut back staff, size, pages, coverage, services.

Investigative journalism -- the kind of reporting that exposed Watergate, the recent inadequate housing of & service to wounded vets at Walter Reed, Sen. Ted Stevens handling of $$$ in Alaska, Sen. Edwards affair with a campaign worker, Ted Kennedy & Mary Jane, and millions more examples -- already has and increasingly will become severely curtailed or eliminated.

An informed electorate relies on the produce of good journalism and good newspapers.

I don't care whether it's online or onpaper, but our country very much needs good investigative reporters and reporting at all levels -- town, city, county, state, region, and national.

IT'S CRITICALLY URGENT TO FIND A WAY TO KEEP UP & SUPPORT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM AND REPORTING AT MANY LEVELS -- SCHOOLS OF JOURNALISM, CAREER LADDERS, DISSEMINATION!!


Otherwise, we'll be served increasing doses of Glenn Beck and Larry King as a substitute for news. :eek:

Yeah and we'll get to read unbiased newspapers like our local paper the Oregonian :rolleyes:
 

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My Panansonic CF-52 notebook weighs a few pounds, my AT&T aircard isn't super cheap. It's a whole lot easier to shell out 50 cents and fold the news under my arm everyday.

Besides it's difficult to balance a laptop when you're on the crapper.

(I also use the newspaper to light the kindling in my woodstove. I'm pretty sure I can't afford a new laptop everytime I want a fire)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I don't think there IS such a thing as unbiased, objective journalism today, either in print or on the airwaves. For every MSNBC, there's a FOX. Extreme left. Extreme right.

And 60 MINUTES?!?! Bhahhahaha. I was taught to be skeptical of them back in the 1980s during a journalism class, when it was pointed out that they lead the way in 'cuts' between questions and answers, opening up the oppty to tinker w/content.

And then there was the whole attempt to tank GWB.

But by gum, they devote a full 22 minutes per story per week to 'investigative journalism.' And then cut to Mr. Alzheimer, Andy Rooney.

Hah.
 

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Churches are not for profits, why not newspapers?
 

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I don't know why they just don't charge for anything more current than today's newspaper. If everyone did this it would work. Most newspapers offer a 2 week backfile online. The New York Times offeres it from 1980+. It's their fault for putting all of their content online. Most papers hold OBIT's for 2 years online. I work in publishing and deal with "free" all the time. There are generally no images in the online version also.
 

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I don't think there IS such a thing as unbiased, objective journalism today, either in print or on the airwaves. For every MSNBC, there's a FOX. Extreme left. Extreme right.

And 60 MINUTES?!?! Bhahhahaha. I was taught to be skeptical of them back in the 1980s during a journalism class, when it was pointed out that they lead the way in 'cuts' between questions and answers, opening up the oppty to tinker w/content.

And then there was the whole attempt to tank GWB.

But by gum, they devote a full 22 minutes per story per week to 'investigative journalism.' And then cut to Mr. Alzheimer, Andy Rooney.

Hah.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. Especially about 60 minutes. Many people won't go on with them because of their editing. Oh and I hate Andy Rooney.

As far as traditional newspapers go, I think their time has come. I personally read all of the papers/columnists I like online. I need immediate gratification and I can get that online and on tv.

I have the luxury of working from home so my tv is on around the clock with Msnbc, Fox and Cnn.

You are correct about the media being unbiased. All of the media. I think you have to be a thinking person and be able to sort out the bullshit and form your own opinions on a particular subject. That is exactly why I watch all three cable networks. I like to get everyone's take on something.

I don't know what will happen to the people that don't have/can't afford internet access or cable television. They must still rely on traditional newspapers. I think we tend to think the entire population is online and clearly it is not. Those folks will feel it the most I think.
 
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