News about news

There was an editorial in the “New York Times” today saying that as newspapers move from paper to on-line, their revenue stream is becoming woefully too small to support proper news-gathering. The editorial proposed that in order to survive, news sources will need to move from a for-profit model to a non-profit endowment model (like museums).

So here we have an actual example of an important real-world activity – sources for trusted news gathered by trained and seasoned professionals – that is clearly of benefit to society, and yet for which (it is claimed) there is no way to survive on-line in a free market economy.

I am struck by the magnitude of the issues suggested by this possibility. Are we really entering an age, thanks to changes wrought by the culture and distribution model of the web, in which the gathering and reporting of expert knowledge is not economically sustainable?

And if so, should we be panicking?

2 Responses to “News about news”

  1. Dean says:

    No, I don’t think we need to panic at all. I view this as creative destruction. A free market economy accepts the failures of various kinds and creates new opportunities for others to fill the unmet needs.

    How many print/online/other news sources do we need? I don’t know the answer, but if we let the free market work its magic, that number will be found. What I do know, is that the gov’t shouldn’t provide the endowment if a non-profit model is what becomes necessary, comrades.

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