‘Saving the News’ — and Democracy

Free Press‘ new report suggesting “how the government should respond to the current crisis in journalism”–“Saving the News: Toward a National Journalism Strategy” (5/12/09)–addresses both “short- and long-term strategies.” Among their transformative ideas:

  • New Ownership Structures. Encouraging the establishment of nonprofit and low-profit news organizations through tax-exempt and low-profit limited liability company (L3C) models.
  • New Incentives. Creating tax incentives and revising bankruptcy laws to encourage local, diverse, nonprofit, low-profit and employee ownership.
  • Journalism Jobs Program. Funding training and retraining for novice and veteran journalists in multimedia and investigative reporting.
  • R&D Fund for Journalism Innovation. Investing in innovative projects and experimenting to identify and nurture new models.

Free Press’ Victor Pickard warns that “the collapse of advertising-supported journalism may leave whole sections of the population without a fully functional press, and that is simply unacceptable for a democracy.” He urges consideration of these imaginative initiatives “to help keep reporters on the beat, while also investing in long-term models for public service journalism.”