Washington Post Looks For Government Handout To “Save Journalism”

May 16th, 2009 | By | Category: Commentary, General

The Washington Post published a piece today by Bruce W. Sanford and Bruce D. Brown that argues that the US government needs to step in and enact laws to “save journalism”:

Unless Congress embarks on far-reaching change in public policy to maintain the viability of journalism as it evolves online, we will soon find ourselves with the remnants of a broken industry incapable of providing the knowledge necessary to manage life in a complex world.

Sanford and Brown go on to make a variety of suggestions for ways the government “save journalism”:

  • Redefine copyright so that what search engines practice do when they crawl the Web is “not fair use but infringement.” According to The Washington Post, this would force search engines “to negotiate with copyright holders over the value of their content.”
  • Federalize the “hot news” doctrine. This would allow news publishers to sue websites that spread news stories.
  • Give newspaper publishers tax breaks. Washington state has already slashed taxes on newspapers by 40 percent.
  • Subsidize print advertising – The Washington Post would like to see Congress “provide incentives for placing ads with content creators (not with Craigslist)”.

In other words, The Washington Post thinks that the only thing that will save journalism from Google, Craigslist and bloggers is a heaping serving of government pork.

The Washington Post’s argument would seem pathetic is it weren’t so maddening.

The Post seems to have missed this news: twice as many people trust the Internet as a source of news as trust their local newspaper.

And, in a world of real-time news, it’s newspapers that are “incapable of providing the knowledge necessary to manage life in a complex world.”

New media publishers are 50 times as efficient as traditional publishers, according to U.S. News & World Report. Bloggers, vloggers and podcasters are pioneering hyperefficient platforms for content creation and distribution.

Newspaper publishers need to learn from new media and find ways to publish news more efficiently. Instead, they’re looking for the government to protect the status quo.

Is it time for The Washington Post to break out the “Why lie – I need a beer” sign?

Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Image: Mark McLaughlin

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7 Responses to “Washington Post Looks For Government Handout To “Save Journalism””

  1. John Lacey says:

    The world is changing. It is time to change with it or die.

    I’m surprised there’s so much resistance in traditional media. I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that their considerable resources would’ve made the transition easy. Though it would seem there is a fundamental lack of understanding.

  2. [...] della specie 17Mag09 Il Washington Post sostiene che il governo americano debba proteggere l’industria dei giornali dalla tecnologia [...]

  3. msbpodcast says:

    Sanford and Brown go on to make a variety of suggestions for ways the government “save journalism”:

    * Redefine copyright so that what search engines practice do when they crawl the Web is “not fair use but infringement.” According to The Washington Post, this would force search engines “to negotiate with copyright holders over the value of their content.”
    * Federalize the “hot news” doctrine. This would allow news publishers to sue websites that spread news stories.
    * Give newspaper publishers tax breaks. Washington state has already slashed taxes on newspapers by 40 percent.
    * Subsidize print advertising – The Washington Post would like to see Congress “provide incentives for placing ads with content creators (not with Craigslist)”.

    Can you say “fat f*ckin’ chance”?

    Paper’s dead. It was a stupid and inefficient way spread content but it was the best we had at the time.

    That said it was extremely wasteful of all kinds of resources in its production, processing, consumption and disposal.

    it was an ecological nightmare at almost every step of its creation, its printing, its transportation, its consumption and its final disposal.

    The process bled money out of every pore and anybody advocating for its revival probably deserves to spend a year actually working at a paper mill, drinking its effluent and squatting on the sites of the forests decimated for the paper product.

    If some of the mountains in the Pacific North West looks like the freshli pluched rumps of raw chickens, its because the print magnates didn’t care about the landscape back them and they don’t care about it now.

    Well, screw you back.

    Now piss off and let me read the news off the flat screen of my lap top.

    You should have seen the writing on the wall back in 1995.

    If you’d been really minding your business, you should have sen this coming since Paul Otlet’s proposal for a mundaneum, before WWII.

    Print magnates, I feel absolutely no sympathy for you. You’re greedy and ignorant, short-sighted and stupid.

  4. Are you kidding me?!! Industries, companies, and individuals (for that matter) that cannot compete in the marketplace are and need to be relegated to the sidelines. Bailouts only manage to maintain inefficient and unprofitable practices – not save jobs (which so short-sighted). Competition invariably breeds innovation as folks try to win. Yes!! This is what we need and want! Don’t maintain the status quo! You can’t stop innovation and change but you can waste money trying.

  5. arjun says:

    You can say “fat chance” and “print is dead” all you want, but these guys are lining up to get government handouts, they’re getting them, and you and I are going to be paying for it.

  6. [...] Washington Post Looks For Government Handout To “Save Journalism” [...]

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