In the op-ed section of this morning’s Post, two writers offer Congress some suggestions on how to save journalism, specifically newspapers.
Of course, the two work for a Washington law firm that, according to their web site, “assists broadcast group owners, telecommunications companies and individual licensees”, so everything in the piece is somewhat suspect.
Anyway, one of their major proposals would allow newspapers and other media companies to be run as non-profit educational institutions under the tax laws.
They also want the federal government to cut their taxes by 40% as well as subsidize classified ads, a business that was a large profit center until Craig’s List and other sites started offering better service for a much lower price (like free).
However, probably the worst of their ideas is to eliminate all ownership restrictions on media companies, completely ignoring the fact that the tremendous wave of corporate consolidation over the past fifteen years didn’t help the industry avoid their current mess.
While producing the incredibly homogenized news and entertainment options currently available from most offline outlets.
As is often the case, they place much of the blame on technology – generally the internet and Google in particular – for causing the financial problems of the news media.
Choosing to ignore the shortsightedness and greed of their clients, along with their lack of ability to adapt to the demands for flexible access to information by the people formerly known as their customers.
Finally, the two also seem to have a poor understanding of “journalism”, confusing the investigation and reporting of the news with the business of delivering dead trees.
All in all, the ideas being pushed in this editorial make even less sense than bailing out the auto industry.
[Image by jonas_k and released under a Creative Commons license.]