Monday, October 26, 2009

Should the Government Subsidize Newspapers?

For the past year, some journalists and editors have suggested that one way to help print journalism is to get government subsidies.

Now, in the past, the government has used farm subsidies to enact policy. So we had farmers paid not to farm, for example.

Would we pay journalists not to write -- if so, how do I get in line for that? Would the government reward papers for certain types of coverage (more patriotic news) and penalize them by cutting back support for other types of coverage (like reporting on scandals among politicians)?

I do believe that newspapers are important to our democracy working. The question is how to support them when the market isn't. I don't think subsidies are the way to go, and neither does Seth Lipsky, former editor at the Forward and the New York Sun. Check out his Journal op-ed,
All the News That's Fit to Subsidize,

And note, the swipe at the Times.

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