Thursday, December 18, 2008

LA Times Editor: Are Newspapers a Viable Business?

"I think big-city newspapers, the way we have known them, are not long for this world, as they're now configured."
-- Los Angeles Times Editor Russ Stanton

Journalists, accountants and bankruptcy experts found accord Thursday on the No. 1 issue facing Tribune Co. as it begins its Chapter 11 bankruptcy adventure: It isn't owner Sam Zell. It isn't the company's huge indebtedness. The question, said Los Angeles Times editor Russ Stanton, is "whether this is a viable business." [Click for MORE]
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1 comment:

jgogek said...

What we need now is a bailout for newspapers. Let’s do it just like we’re doing it for the auto industry, and for the same reason. Just like the auto industry is vital to the economy, newspaper journalism is vital to the Republic. But, only those newspaper companies that can develop a workable plan to quickly transport themselves into the digital age should be eligible for this bailout. And, the money should strictly go toward helping newspapers to stop killing trees and start becoming Internet-centric.

Only through newspaper journalism can the public get enough information to decide the truth for themselves. TV, radio and blogs still get most of their information from newspaper reporters.

Unfortunately, people who work at newspapers have been deluding themselves over the past ten years that they could somehow survive in the dead tree business. But the avalanche of bad news, culminating in the hideous bankruptcy of the Tribune Co., cannot be denied. Many newspapers may have only a few years to live. Some will not survive the recession. We will soon see major cities with no newspaper.

A bailout of newspapers won’t cost anywhere near what it costs to bail out Detroit or Citibank. And if the government wants some equity stake as collateral, I’m fine with that. It works with NPR and BBC. So let’s get on with it. If newspapers can come up with a plan to go wholly digital, taxpayers who love democracy should help them out. Newspapers have certainly bailed out taxpayers often enough.

“… Were it left to me to decide whether we should have government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
— Thomas Jefferson