Newspapers: the final solution (again)

Dateline: Tue 21 Apr 2009

As reader Tom Henderson said of this story, omg.

Newspapers, the latest industry cast as pitiful financial victims, are being rushed to the government's bedside by Sen. John Kerry and other well-meaning (I am certain) politicians.

Here's the lead from the Huffington Post Monday:

"Sen. John Kerry is wading into a fierce national debate next week by holding hearings on the future of newspapers. In a letter to the 'Boston Globe family,' Kerry wrote about his determination to help save newspapers. Excerpts of the letter were released by the Globe today.

"'America's newspapers are struggling to survive and while there will be serious consequences in terms of the lives and financial security of the employees involved, including hundreds at the Globe, there will also be serious consequences for our democracy where diversity of opinion and strong debate are paramount.'"

Oh lawks a mercy me.

The article mentions papers that have gone under or are facing extinction: the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Rocky Mountain News, the Baltimore Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition, there's the troubled Tribune Company and the Boston Globe, owned by the New York Times, which has threatened to shutter the Globe doors.

Kerry, a Dem in charge of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications et al, is apparently interested in national legislation -- already proposed by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland -- that would turn newspapers into not-for-profits, similar to public broadcasting as we now know it (NPR etc). Newspapers would not be permitted to make political endorsements, but they would be allowed, presumably, to whine and beg for public dollars, as local affilates of National Public Radio are now doing.

That might just make us all crazier.

But at least it's an idea, one that has been floated for some time now.

Still, has it really come to this? And since Gannett is not included in the listing of companies on the skids --- it makes money handily --- would it be the only dog left standing at the end of the day?

Another depressing thought....

Seriously, what do you think?

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