From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
I believe that there is a key premise to this whole discussion that is in error, namely that there is a high-cost associated with the gathering of unbiased facts. That's the traditional paradigm that has continued to carry forward for "news organizations". Simply look at what a "reporter" needed to do to create an unbiased report. 1) Become aware of the story/issue 2) Travel to or speak to involved parties/witnesses 3) Attempt to discern what was actual fact, what was perceived fact (witnesses differing interpretation of what they saw/heard), and what was speculation or opinions on the issue. 4) Take/acquire photos or video that substantiate, refute or illustrate the story. All that did indeed take time and money to do, and could only be depended upon when the reporter was operating with free expression (hard to get a straight story in N. Korea), and had access to the variety of witnesses/contributors that allowed the story to be viewed from enough perspectives to eliminate the bias. Then welcome to today. Witness and contributors don't have to be found. Instead of needing to pull the information from them, they push it forward themselves. No longer is it necessary for a reporter to travel to the scene of the conflict or drop in to the legislative office for copies of the proposed law. Dialog, video or other documentary evidence is transmitted by participants or posted on a website. Key today is that we do not need to rely on a "costly" journalist to gather the variety of facts and then depend upon them to digest, interpret and disseminate them without bias. We all have access to that variety of facts, to which we may then apply our own interpretation. We are all our own journalists, and the internet is "the reporter" that digs about for those varying views and source materials and presents them to use for interpretation. Government does not need to be involved in subsidizing or supporting the news gatherers. If you want to spend productive time to "subsidize" a populace being informed with the unbiased stories, the attention really needs to be turned to educating and involving the consumers of the news so that they understand how to look for news, and demand references to the source materials and take the action to peruse them themselves to validate the integrity of any interpretation, including their own.