Thursday, March 26, 2009

Newspapers As Non-Profits

Every time I write a post about the print media I lament the fact that it is slowly, or maybe not so slowly, disappearing. I talk of how I'll miss it with my morning coffee. Just today it was announced the Boston Globe has been added to the list.
True, I sit at my computer browsing on line editions every day. It just isn't the same. So when I read that Senator Ben Cardin, D-Md, introduced the Newspaper revitalization Act I took notice.

Why not? Most newspapers are non profit already! That's why they're going under like corpses encased in cement!

The suggestion is that this may be more suitable for small local papers rather than those held by large media conglomerates. The ones vital for communities, like ours, to get the information needed to be well informed. There are a few caveats however. They must have a staff of reporters large enough to cover what the community needs. The dull and boring stuff like city council meetings, regardless of what's on the agenda, and school board meetings, commissioners meetings, etc. All the non-glamorous stuff. And they must do it. Picture pages of social events and pages and pages of legal notices doesn't cut it.

According to Cardin's thinking, this could open the door for a non-profit paper to purchase one held by one of those conglomerates. Imagine the Coeur d'Alene Press being able to buy, say the Spokesman Review! Now that would be something! Yeah, I know, Hagadone owns a chain of papers but I don't think he's in the same league as, say Gannett or even Spokane's Cowles!

As a 501(c)3 they'd be operating for educational purposes similar to public television. That should be a slam dunk. Isn't that what newspapers are for in the first place? Education?

The best part of all is that while they would still be able to cover all things political, including campaigns, they'd be prohibited from giving political endorsements. Locally that would put a crimp in the style of the blogs operating under the newspaper's banner. It would certainly make for an interesting change of pace. Maybe they'd get back to something else a newspaper is supposed to be. Objective.


Anonymous said...

The Boston Globe is buying the farm? Say it isn't so. While that paper was way too liberal for my taste, still it was the paper I read for many years along with several others. Perhaps it is an age thing, but newsprint and coffee are to me the same as peanut butter and chocolate. It is a brain game to read the paper and remove the editorializing to gain the real news. Something needs to jump start my grey matter in the morning. It is a sad commentary on the future to think that one day, the only newspapers will the those on display in a museum. CU

Linda said...

Oh thank you for this post. I get heat everytime I write about enjoying my newpaper. I know killing trees and using water to make paper is bad but what isn't these days? I think you're on to a supurb idea.

Word Tosser said...

Wow, to get the read news and have it without opinion, just the news.. what a novel idea.. lol...

The Bee, if they took the legal ads and the pictures it would only be 2 pages, as it is, it is only 6 to 8 pages during the week...3 to 4 sheets of paper.