Study Cites Need for Major Changes, More Tech to End Newspaper Crisis

By: Joe Strupp

A new report on how the government should respond to the current journalism crisis contends that structural changes, and potentially some non-profit ownership, are needed, along with more digital technology.

“Traditional media have been battered by a perfect storm, as the rise of the Internet and the disappearance of traditional ad dollars collided with the economic downturn,” Craig Aaron, senior program director of Free Press and co-author of the report, said in a statement. “But many of the media industry’s wounds are self-inflicted, the result of bad business decisions and failed strategy, aided by idle regulators who looked the other way. We need a new approach.”

The “Saving the News” report identifies five promising models that should be top priorities for policymakers:

* 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 Fund for Journalism Innovation. Investing in innovative projects and experimenting to identify and nurture new models.

* New Public Media. Transforming public media into a world-class noncommercial news operation utilizing new technology and focused on community service.

The entire report can be found at:
http://www.freepress.net/files/saving_the_news.pdf

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