READER COMMENTS ON
"NYTimes Op-Ed: Nation's Newspapers Should Go Non-Profit"
(22 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 1/28/2009 @ 1:53 pm PT...
"We've all seen how even non-profits are beholden to the whims and ideals of their major contributors"
Who would endow them? The government?
How would coverage have been different over the last 8 years if newspapers had been beholden directly to the Bush Admin rather than Murdoch?
No taxpayer money for papers. New, albiet smaller papers will grow in the space once occupied by these dying behemoths. The sooner the better. just say'n, IMO.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 1/28/2009 @ 2:26 pm PT...
Nonprofits are able to "make money", if I recall. Newspapers used to make what was considered a decent profit, and in recent years, corporations have taken over and demanded more profit. That view is from Earl Cadlwell, of "Caldwell Chronicle" on WBAI (shows are archived for 90 days, including his great one with Les Payne, on Jan.2, 2009 on their longtime journalist experiences). Les Payne has suggested that newspapers are dying and that the internet has the opportunity for the new readers, and new writers, with the older journalists acting as experience. It's cheaper, he says, to do news online. He always stresses that facts need checking in doing journalism. I notice that more journalists are blogging, such as Hugh Hamilton, also of WBAI, how has his own blog, as well as his radio show, "TalkBack". I like reading news online, but I prefer independent media (obviously, as here I am), blogs and DemocracyNow. WBAI is a Pacifica network station.
[ed note: I fixed yer links. You didn't do so badly. --99]
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 1/28/2009 @ 2:38 pm PT...
Or how about something like the BBC?
I'm all for getting the profit motive out of the equation. Contrary to the dominant paradigm, the love of profit corrupts everything it touches. The free market system has utterly failed to provide citizens with reliable news.
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 1/28/2009 @ 2:41 pm PT...
Nonprofits do not have to rely on donors. They can sell ads and everything. They just don't have to pay stockholders, don't have to make a profit for the ownership. If they do make a profit after expenses and salaries, it has to go toward the business, or another nonprofit entity, not enrich owners. I think it is a great way for the print media to keep happening and to have less pressure to skew their product in favor of fascism.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 1/28/2009 @ 2:47 pm PT...
If they threw in some regs to clamp down on the exertion of influence on such entities, of course, it would be even better. That damn well ought to be doable.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 1/28/2009 @ 4:48 pm PT...
As the original op-ed notes (and as I did, as well), the call was not for government endowment --- though I suppose "colleges and universities" as referred are often publicly endowed --- but presumably from private foundations, etc.
Your point is well taken, however. Even if non-profits PBS and NPR, both recipients of government largess, have (for the most part) done okay, even with partial government funding. At least they're not on the verge of disappearing forever, like so many newspapers and wire services across the country.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 1/28/2009 @ 5:28 pm PT...
Maybe PBS and NPR are not on the verge of disappearing, but I'm not sure that they get a passing grade.
Our big newspapers have done a great deal of harm. Whether the good they've also done outweighs the harm, I don't know. I'm not ready to support the Mouth Piece Media. How about grants to support small, local papers that actually do reporting?
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 1/28/2009 @ 7:47 pm PT...
Endowment by the Governemnt, the Pew Family Trust, or the Bradley Foundation has a similar peril:
You tkae the King's shilling you dance to the tune called by the King.
What is needed is for reporters to report their stories and accrue personal gain in a forum other than media outlet.
I don't know the form that takes, but I am not sure endowment is the path there.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 1/28/2009 @ 9:54 pm PT...
#6 "...op-ed notes (and as I did, as well), the call was not for government endowment"
Sorry, I must have missed the comment about non-govt. funding. I still like the idea of the 'capitalist road' for newspapers because it's transparent, all I need to see is ownership, (at the city level) who frequently buys the big ads, and the finished product. With endowments I would have to spend too much time on Google checking out the donors to see if the writing reflects an agenda beyond journalism.
#2 "...internet has the opportunity for the new readers, and new writers, with the older journalists acting as experience. It's cheaper, he says, to do news online."
I don't mind the idea of these institutions dying if they don't fulfill their purpose even so much as to attract the buyers. Our City paper went from left to right to (IMO) hard right years ago so I haven't read the mainstream city paper for years.
I've been reading about 'electronic newspapers' in Sci-Fi since I was a kid and it's tech progress I'm entirely comfortable with. I love the evolution and diversity of it.
And I want a flying car now that we have our wrist telephones coming into production.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
Jeannie Dean (not in) FL-13
said on 1/28/2009 @ 10:19 pm PT...
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 1/28/2009 @ 10:31 pm PT...
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 1/28/2009 @ 11:41 pm PT...
Lottakatz #9- speaking of flying cars, did you see this recently ("'Flying car' goes to market")?
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
A. F. Smith
said on 1/28/2009 @ 11:55 pm PT...
The "Powers That Be" are ensuring their primary routes of delivery of propaganda to the population stays intact.
Sarkozy is so intent on keeping French newspapers operating he's talking about the government giving people free subscriptions for life. Do you really think Sarkozy would be so intent on ensuring newspapers retain their same place in society if it wasn't a foundation upon which the conservative movement is built?
I say newspapers caused their own fate. Newspaper as a whole went far right politically pretty much worldwide, supported the free trade/globalists agenda, and lost all trust from the people as a result. Let 'em die.
Progressive should spend our more limited resources on less costly means of information distribution. Summarizing the days events on newsprint and distributing that hard copy in citywide delivery networks is a waste of labor and resources.
Cheap bendable electronic displays are starting to come out of the labs. 10 years from now that will be how people read what they think of as magazines. Newsgathering will be moved almost entirely online, and I'm fine with that, because there will be a new chance for new progressive voices to appear to replace the hardcopy empires of old.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 1/29/2009 @ 5:16 am PT...
besides the fact that the msm is unreliable & predictably propoganda-ish, let's not forget to blame craig's list for a major part of newspapers' downfall.
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 1/29/2009 @ 6:28 am PT...
In a sense,going non-profit does represent government funding because the organizations will be paying far less taxes than for-profits and there are no guarantees that they will be providing more of a "public service" than they do now.
And then there is the matter of the government not being financially able to provide effective oversight which is currently the case in the charitable organization industry.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 1/29/2009 @ 6:53 am PT...
#3 Perry: I am not sure the BBC is such a great example of independent journalism. One of its reporters was reporting live on 9/11/01 about the collapse of World Trade Center tower #7 as it stood in the background behind her (so did Aaron Brown of CNN). It "collapsed" [imploded is probably the correct term] 20 minutes later. Apparently the "evil doers" had fed "talking points" to the media, including BBC. The BBC report was a much-visited YouTube video that has now been censored off of YouTube, along with many other 9-11 YouTube videos. The scuttlebutt is that [whose?] spokesman, Sen. Joe Lieberman, has declared that any media information that contradicts the Official Government Conspiracy Theory of 9-11 [19 middle eastern men highjacked four planes with boxcutters] is "Terrorist Propaganda," and must not be available or accessible on the internet.
Methinks too many people are moving into the 9-11 truther camp for the comfort of the "evil doers."
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 1/29/2009 @ 11:08 am PT...
Or they could just do their damn jobs properly, investigating and reporting rather than taking dictation from corporations and the government and then more people would read them.
I gave up on newspapers about decade ago when I saw that GWB was being given a free ride in spite of his well known shortcomings.
They should go out of business, if this is the best they can do.
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 1/29/2009 @ 11:28 am PT...
Mark Karlin, creator/publisher of the indispensable BuzzFlash wrote to me on this topic via private mail, which I post, with his permission here...
brad, as far as the op-ed on newspapers, that's why buzzflash doesn't accept advertising. if you have seen on huffington post, there are ads for shell and british petroleum artfully persuading people how concerned they are doing about the environment. even kos has adds for the likes of the "aerospace industry."
we're just making it by, but growing
i think the guardian is a good model. it's a trust.
but only a few papers would have the heft to build up an endowment to survive that way. and they should start from the ground-up. the management of the nyt, tribune company and washington post are obstacles to independent journalism. some of the worthy reporters could be rehired.
but all print newspapers are an endangered species. the costs of production and distribution, combined with new generations that get their news from the net make the distribution of a daily paper news product obsolete, not to mention way behind the news cycle.
After requesting his permission to post his remarks here, he followed up with...
you're welcome to do with them whatever you wish. advertising is what makes the American economy run, but it is also the key poison in the corporate media industry. there are so many ways in which advertising has tainted corporate news coverge, far too many to enumerate. the idea of trusts are great, but worldwide news organizations are extremely costly. there isn't enough, realistically, philanthropic money to cover the coverage and analysis that is needed.
personally, if we are to enter an era of honest, open and dynamic news, Americans are going to have to invest it individually, just as they pay for cable television. people are going to have to own the media, so that it is accountable to citizens not corporations and advertisers. that's a dramatic shift in thinking, but the value of news and information needs to be monetized as a consumer choice.
if people want oil companies to finances their news, they'll get what they are not paying for.
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 1/30/2009 @ 7:55 am PT...
Non-profit sounds good, but the NYTimes deserves to die. As Daniel Elsberg said in this place, if he brought the Pentagon Papers to them now, they wouldn't publish them.
I think the real reason for the decline of investigative journalism (besides this stupid and silly ideal of "balance" instead of truth) is, in a very ironic way, tied to the very reasons that our economy is in a depression. It's a class of CEOs and other top executives (and the NYT has one) who have long since ceased to be about business and are now ideologically infused and have very clear political agendas. The tilt toward Bushhole was no accident. That's where the money was. I remember when I sent the NYTimes a commentary six months before the revelations of Abu Graib that torture was a high level policy of this government, they wouldn't publish it. My sources were public and unimpeachable. One was a direct interview with Rumsfield in the PARIS MATCH in which he endorsed the methods of interrogation in "THe Battle of Algiers." And they refused to publish it. I probably should have tried to publish it elsewhere, but I was discouraged. I felt for a long time that unless I was a CEO, I couldn't be a full citizen of this country.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 1/31/2009 @ 1:56 pm PT...
Thanks for the links:
'Jeannie Dean' I love jet packs though this one doesn't seem to have much range:
'Steve', Wow! now that's a flying car in the best sense of the word, at least until we get that anti-gravity thing working
'99', I loves me some holodeck. The best eps IMO were the three wherein the 'people' constructs became self aware and knew they were holographs; "Elementary, Dear Data", "Ship in a Bottle" and the noir detective episode "The Big Goodbye". (Thank's for the link so I could ferret out the names.)
The self awareness angle was later played out beautifully in the movie "The Thirteenth Floor".
Also, the simulation model of our existence has been put forward by a contemporary philosopher and he gives the probability as 1 in 5:
A. F. Smith: "Cheap bendable electronic displays are starting to come out of the labs..."
And I love that bendable electronic paper too; A company I worked for that was in the middle of the transition from paper to on-line was just salivating over the next step to electronic paper.
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 1/31/2009 @ 2:17 pm PT...
Fron #18 "only a few papers would have the heft to build up an endowment to survive that way. and they should start from the ground-up. the management of the nyt, tribune company and washington post are obstacles to independent journalism."
I agree and think the on-line corporate papers and the blogs have rendered the big papers obsolete. If you have a variety of on-line sources you get all of the National and international stories that the giants cover, opinion and examination, and some investigative stories that they refuse to. The MSM didn't break the Don Siegalman story, he would still be in jail if his fate rested with the MSM.
The big gap seems to be a citywide daily that is independent. Here in my city you can get close to it on-line but the sites are all controlled by local television news and our daily paper. None of them have the depth or ease of uses as a real paper.
By depth I mean the level of iteration into city goings-on that papers do so well, crime stat's w/synopsis' local social events for the day etc. and all those little personalizing touches. I really miss that kind of thing though.
Every city should have a good, objective city-wide daily also because it reinforces a city's identity and a readers sense of place.
Fron #18 "...the costs of production and distribution, combined with new generations that get their news from the net make the distribution of a daily paper news product obsolete, not to mention way behind the news cycle."
The production and distribution (once you get past investigating, writing and editing) is labor intensive. These jobs have been hit hard in my town and will go away entirely if news is all electronic. I am not happy with that loss but I don't subscribe to a poor newspaper just to subsidize those jobs. We have an evening daily so the time lag on stories isn't so great.
I love the printed word and hate that papers have come to this end. Having said that though, if I could find a good don-line daily for my city I'd embrace the change totally and gladly and never look back.
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 1/31/2009 @ 8:47 pm PT...
I would hate to not be able to read Frank Rich, Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, et al in the NY Times;and McClatchy reporters were the few MSM speaking truth to power prior to the Iraq invasion. Most blogs can't afford reporters on the ground in foreign countries, and often only print their articles anyway. There is a place for professional journalism that is viewed by huge numbers of people, not just small fractions here and there. I think the nonprofit idea, like Public Radio and TV, is a good one.