Newspapers of the World, Unite: Carr

Collusion could avert disaster—but it won't happen
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 9, 2009 9:57 AM CDT
A projects reporter at the Rocky Mountain News cleans out her desk in the newsroom after the final edition of the Rocky Mountain News was published in Denver on Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.    (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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(Newser) – The newspaper industry is in dire straits, and to fix it, its bosses must “hold hands and jump off the following cliffs together,” writes David Carr in the New York Times. First, end free web access; it will  drive away some readers, but they're not paying for quality reporting anyway. Second, aggregators like Google and Newser shouldn’t get a “free ride”—though that could mean angering the search king.

Third, proliferation of cheap ads must get the axe; limiting space will drive up rates as it did in print. And fourth, overturn the anti-trust legislation that prevents papers from combining. “It's time that newspapers are allowed to collude in the public interest,” an analyst tells Carr. Otherwise, there may be little left to regulate. “One is better than none” when it comes to city papers. If they don't find a viable revenue model, Carr concludes, it's "not a business problem; it’s a civic one."