Argument: Journalism industry is in crisis, requires government help
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John Nichols and Robert McChesney. "The Death and Life of Great American Newspapers". Nation. March 18, 2009 - "Let's begin with the crisis. In a nutshell, media corporations, after running journalism into the ground, have determined that news gathering and reporting are not profit-making propositions. So they're jumping ship. The country's great regional dailies--the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer--are in bankruptcy. Denver's Rocky Mountain News recently closed down, ending daily newspaper competition in that city. The owners of the San Francisco Chronicle, reportedly losing $1 million a week, are threatening to shutter the paper, leaving a major city without a major daily newspaper. Big dailies in Seattle (the Times), Chicago (the Sun-Times) and Newark (the Star-Ledger) are reportedly near the point of folding, and smaller dailies like the Baltimore Examiner have already closed. The 101-year-old Christian Science Monitor, in recent years an essential source of international news and analysis, is folding its daily print edition. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is scuttling its print edition and downsizing from a news staff of 165 to about twenty for its online-only incarnation. Whole newspaper chains--such as Lee Enterprises, the owner of large and medium-size publications that for decades have defined debates in Montana, Iowa and Wisconsin--are struggling as the value of stock shares falls below the price of a single daily paper. And the New York Times needed an emergency injection of hundreds of millions of dollars by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim in order to stay afloat."
Rosa Brooks. "Bail out journalism". Los Angeles Times. April 9, 2009 - "Like everyone else whose livelihood is linked to the newspaper industry, I've been watching, appalled, as newspapers continue their death spiral, with dwindling circulations and thousands of layoffs. Here at The Times, the editorial staff is down to almost half the size it was in 2000. Often, as I've watched talented colleagues get the ax, I've suspected that I've only lasted this long because as a freelancer -- with no benefits and minimal pay -- I'm just too cheap to be worth firing.
Still, I knew it was time to pray for a government bailout in December, when my editor explained that because the paper's parent company had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, I might not get paid for my recent columns"
Time's Walter Isaacson describes the situation as having "reached meltdown proportions. ... It is now possible to contemplate a time in the near future when major towns will no longer have a newspaper and when magazines and network news operations will employ no more than a handful of reporters."