From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age? #544505-00134

Submission Number:
Tom Mcinerney
New York
Initiative Name:
From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
Newspaper subscriptions and advertising revenues have both dropped precipitously due to the greater efficiencies of online distribution. The severe contraction of print news bureaus could be rectified if a compensatory tax were levied upon Internet Service Providers , since they have adopted both the subscription service , and the 'advertising space'(which the papers once relied upon). It would be necessary to distribute (transfer) the revenues to historic entities in the print media which have maintained research/investigative bureaus. The old print news business model has been defunct for over a decade , and some means of corrective action needs be taken until such time as the news media develop another , better billing/business model. It is not flippantly that a transfer tax is considered. Both the failure of American finance to learn from the repetitive crises of the '90s {and the dotcom/Enron bubble/bust!} , and the serial unfounded assumptions which led the Bush administration to ignore most relevant precedent and history in its pursuit of enemies after 9/11 , suggest a worrisome blindness at the pinnacle of American 'leadership'. Partial disarray in markets and policies serving healthcare , energy and immigration , and apparent difficulty in communications spanning political and economic spheres just reinforce the sense of misperception , impotence , or both. News - a societal monitoring and feedback function - may not be sufficient to remedy these issues , but well-staffed news bureaus may make necessary contributions toward that end. Education , culture , and news reporting all contribute to communal senses , by describing the interrelations of disparate aspects of civilisation. Online there has been a profusion of blogs , fora , and sites/pages with information quality frequently exceeding that of routine news reporting. However a socially useful news function - editing reported information into a meaningful context (befitting narrative) based both on broad and specific information, has been perhaps less effective. The online abundance represents additional news sources , and a news-related revenue stream , partially derived from traditional news bureaus. A transfer tax from ISPs to defray costs of traditional news bureaus would demand some rbitrary regulation , but yield substantial social benefits.