Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program
District of Columbia
From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
In following up my testimony at the June 15 hearings of the proceeding, I am submitting two documents. The first is the paper by Ohio State University Law Professor Stephanie Hoffer suggesting possible tax reforms to help journalism. The items I particularly singled out were the last three suggestions that could put non-profits on a more even footing with for-profits to run journalistic organizations. This paper was submitted to, and cited by, the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy at p. 34 and fns. 33-34 of its Report, "Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age." While the Commission did not take a position on any of these suggestions, it did commend them for consideration by government. At the hearing I also mentioned that the Knight Commission Report had within it support for a number of the Staff's propositions. These include the importance of journalism to communities, the point that information is a public good, conditioned support for public service media, and support for reforms in making local and other government information widely available online. I am also enclosing a paper I wrote and published on April 29, 2010 in the Huffington Post entitled "The Pixelization of Journalism." It suggests that the functions of journalism are unbundling, and that we will go through a period of widespread experimentation with funding models in the coming years. The "pixelization" comes from a matrix that suggests that different funding combinations will be used for different combinations of journalistic functions. This article reflects my own personal views and not necessarily those of the Aspen Institute or the Knight Commission. I hope these are helpful. Charles M. Firestone