Journalism has a bright future, despite the challenges of the digital age—but that future won't come for free, says Rupert Murdoch. Media companies that give people the news they want will be able to charge for it, he predicts in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, and they'll have to: "A business model that relies primarily on online advertising cannot sustain newspapers over the long term." But the worst thing that could happen to journalism would be a government bailout.
More news organizations are bound to fail during this transitionary period, Murdoch writes, but suggestions that the government should step in to save newspapers should be "chilling for anyone who cares about freedom of speech." As we saw with the auto industry rescue, he writes, "Help props up those who are producing things that customers do not want." If the government really wants to help newspapers survive, Murdoch writes, it should ditch its "arbitrary and contradictory" regulations on cross-ownership of media.