What’s black and white, and red all over?

Will President Obama give the newspaper industry a federal bailout?

No, that’s not a typo. With the recent economic downturn, banks and auto manufacturers aren’t the only industries that are looking for a bailout – newspapers might be next. Can you say RED SCARE?!

The Hill newspaper reported that in an interview with the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade, President Obama said he is “happy to look at” federal bailout proposals for the newspaper industry.

It’s no stretch of the imagination to think about the negative opinions that might come out of a newspaper bailout. If the government owns the newspaper, how keen will editors be to run content that challenges the Obama Administration – the same administration that saved their jobs?

As CQ Politics points out in their article, “During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s administration invested in failing Southern newspapers to influence public opinion in favor of the North.” Would these sort of questions come out of a newspaper bailout, or would the president do this out of the goodness of his heart?

There are a lot of questions that come out of this proposal. Now, keep in mind Obama hasn’t even endorsed this idea, nor has he made any steps towards making a proposal, but he is keeping his options open.

Do you think there should be a federal bailout of the newspaper industry? And if there was, what actions should the government take to ensure that newspapers get a better game plan for how to deal with the changing media market? What changes should newspapers take? And can newspapers save themselves soon, so there is no need of a federal bailout?

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6 responses to “What’s black and white, and red all over?

  1. A federal bailout of the newspaper industry would do no one any good but the journalists who are too scared/lazy to take part in modern innovations and the paper mills.

    Don’t spend millions or billions or trillions of dollars on a dying industry, invest in young talent and new ideas that are shaping the future of journalism. Most people don’t get around on a horse or read by candlelight or watch their movies on laserdisks anymore. Why? Because new, more efficient, better ways of doing the same thing came along.

    We’re losing two wars, people can’t pay their mortgages, and health care is a mess. I’d much rather Obama concentrate on other things.

    And I’ll read all about it online.

    • mattvasilogambros

      Do you think that by harnessing new media technologies will save the newspaper industry?

      What will?

      • Ann Schnoebelen

        “Save” as in preserve the industry exactly as it is now? No. And I don’t think it should.

        I love holding a tangible newspaper. I find myself admiring especially impressive magazine layouts. The thought of curling up on a rainy day with a Kindle is almost nauseating to me.

        But if the newspaper industry as we know it is becoming obsolete, I say scrap it and go with what works better. A combination of new media as well as print edition could be nice, but only if it’s worthwhile for readers and cost-efficient. New media should be embraced for what they are and what they can do, not for the ways we might be able to use them to save a dying print industry.

  2. I can’t imagine this would ever happen for a number of reasons. First, I don’t think even the newspapers themselves would be comfortable with such an arrangement. News funded by the government is a slippery slope, and one that I think today’s journalists would be conscious of if there was a proposal in place. Second, I think Obama was simply saying that he would be open to discussion on the topic; he didn’t make any promises or even suggestions about any actual bailout. Finally, and most importantly, a monetary bailout of newspapers is absolutely not what is needed to “save newspapers”. They need to stick to seeking and delivering content the way only the best journalists can. Once newspapers can figure out how to make money via the internet, they will survive. Until then, a bailout would simply be a band-aid solution that would alienate readers.

    • mattvasilogambros

      I agree that a newspaper bailout will most likely never happen. I don’t think there would be much public support for it and I think people would have legitimate concerns of the fair journalistic practices of those bailed out newspapers. Would a paper who was saved by the Obama Administration be keen on writing negative articles on that same administration?

  3. I am so sick of the word bailout. Somehow I just don’t see this as a solution to any of the aforementioned problems. What they really need to do is focus on how to make content better so that they can sell more papers. I’d really like to see papers try to reach a new audience, too. If they can expand the market to people under the age of 35, they’ve got a much better shot for the future. Besides, it’s nice when we can willingly purchase something because we actually want it rather than having the government empty our wallets for us. Just saying…

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