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The Leonard Downie Proposal: A National Endowment for Local News

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 2muchcoffeeman, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    I'm not sure if I like this idea or not.<blockquote>But after a deep dive into problems of the news business in transition and a scrupulous attempt at framing some solutions, Downie and his collaborators and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism reached a conclusion many will find surprising and controversial: <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/19/business/media/19carr.html">a bright future for news must include some government funding of the enterprise</a>. In a lengthy report being released this week, these two sentences stake out the case for federal intervention:<blockquote>"The days of a kind of news media paternalism or patronage that produced journalism in the public interest, whether or not it contributed to the bottom line, are largely gone.

    "American society must now take some collective responsibility for supporting independent news reporting in this new environment -- as society has, at much greater expense, for public needs like education, health care, scientific advancement and cultural preservation -- through varying combinations of philanthropy, subsidy and government policy."</blockquote>Specifically, the report advocates creation of a Fund for Local News on the model of the separate National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities or the National Science Foundation. The money could come from Federal Communications Commission fees on telecom users and Internet service providers, the report suggests.

    Distribution of the money would be modeled on the National Endowment for the Humanities; projects are screened and awarded in open competition by 50 state Humanities Councils. The report doesn't say how much should be in the kitty, but I've heard preliminary discussions in Congressional circles suggesting $500 million a year.

    Nonprofit and commercial ventures on any platform would qualify. The Councils "would fund categories and methods of reporting and ways to support them, rather than individual stories or reporting projects, for durations of several years or more, with periodic progress review. . . .

    The paper, titled "The Reconstruction of American Journalism," does not prescribe a solo federal government rescue. It assigns philanthropy and universities major roles in nurturing news start-ups and argues that well-organized citizen journalism efforts and searchable government information can make up for some of what legacy media has stopped doing.

    It also advocates recognizing news gathering as legitimate activity for a non-profit or low-profit corporation, clearing the way for various forms of hybrid news organizations that could receive tax-free donations.</blockquote>http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=123&aid=171902

    I may be the only person who thinks this, but I'm not convinced that for-profit corporate ventures should be included. If anything, they've been a source of the problem. I'm not sure they should be part of the solution.
  2. Mighty_Wingman

    Mighty_Wingman Active Member

    Because there's NOTHING politicized or self-serving or utterly useless about the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    Let me be clear: I don't have the answers. But I'm quite sure THIS is not one of them, no matter how many well-meaning people bring it up.
  3. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member


    Could this be where we're headed?
  4. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    I'm going to write a story, then put it in a jar of my own piss. I ought to get a big gummint grant for that.
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