From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
I am unsure why the Federal Government, or any government entity in the United States, would attempt to find a way to support any aspect of "The Press" any more than they would be allowed, by the Constitution, to suppress "The Press". Part of supporting a free press is allowing it to function as the market dictates. The government should have no interest in how the market is treating "The Press", or for that matter how it is either thriving or managing to survive. Any attempt to do so by it's very nature flavors what is reported and guarantees that all Press is no longer free. Essentially you would be creating a government sponsored press, beholden to the government for it's upkeep, and therefore less likely to be critical of government policy, an essential function of a free press. If blogging, talk shows, cable television and other sources are eating in to the profits of "traditional" journalism, so be it. It's a natural part of a dynamic economy and will resolve itself the same way a dynamic and evolving economy always does; some businesses are born, others die. Imagine how ludicrous we would consider it now if the government was still supporting Buggy Whip manufacturers because they saw them struggling and decided it was the government's responsibility to help them survive. I used to subscribe to a newspaper, delivered to my house, every day. Today I subscribe to several, online, and find it much more convenient to be able to read them during the day when I find a few minutes here and there. I also find it more informative to be able to follow links to other sources and do a little "at will" research whenever a topic interests me beyond what is in the original article. I also realize that I, the customer and citizen, have benefited, but the newspaper hasn't. They have struggled to make a profit. I'm quite sure if they know for a fact that the government will NEVER get involved in propping them up they will find a way to be profitable. This evolution is a good thing. It encourages innovation and discourages complacency, just the opposite of what happens when the governments guarantees their survival. Let the market decide, not the government!