From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age? #544505-00095

Submission Number:
Bob Withheld
Initiative Name:
From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
I'm commenting on the FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION STAFF DISCUSSION DRAFT: POTENTIAL POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS TO SUPPORT THE REINVENTION OF JOURNALISM. I can't understand why the FTC and the Federal government are even involved in "considering the challenges faced by journalism in the Internet age." This is not the government's concern. Leave it alone. If every newspaper in America goes bankrupt (which I assure you won't happen; there are many that know how to operate at a profit), it is not your concern. These are private businesses. They will either succeed or fail. And many may fail. But others will rise. The news business is changing. And in no way is the FTC, by conducting a few interviews, focus groups, and roundtable discussions going to be the facilitator of 'the way forward.' Leave it alone. I know it's just not in your nature to leave business to the business people, and of course you won't, but please, leave it alone. Whether any existing news media, structure, or business model survives; or whether any new structures or business models emerge is not for you to guide, incent, or subsidize. If you want to help, get rid of the staff (and cost) you obviously don't need because they have been working on this for over a year. The common good is served by those pursuing personal profits; by those who recognize that in order to make a profit they must meet the demands of the people; the people in this case being the many audiences for news. This profit incentive to find a workable model will lead to a far superior result than anything the FTC might come up with. Leave it alone. Surely you have other things to do that are actually within your scope other than try to play industry savior. (Although, of course I'm sure this is much more fun than your 'day job.' But if you want to play in this sandbox, go into the private sector.) In spite of your creative rationalizations that news organizations have always been government subsidized, the last thing we need is government involved in another private industry - especially the news business.