The New York Times is in "perilous financial condition," and colleges would play the perfect savior, Lee Smith writes in the Chronicle for Higher Education. His plan: Have the seven richest institutions direct 3% of their endowments—which, combined, come to $114 billion— to buying the Gray Lady. "That's for a start." Later on, universities could snap up other papers that "make intellectual life possible."
"Universities have an implied responsibility … to protect and promote a body of knowledge for the benefit of society," he writes. But that body doesn't have to be on newsprint; rather than preserve "the familiar bundle of paper in plastic," we must safeguard "the labor and brain-intensive work of reporting, writing, and editing the millions of fragments of information scattered across the planet every day."