A Bailout Would Be a Disaster for Journalism

Future of journalism depends on paid content
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2009 8:15 AM CST
CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 19: Rupert Murdoch talks at a presentation hosted By Young And Rubican at the 55th annual Cannes Advertising Festival on June 19, 2008 in Cannes, France. The festival is the largest...   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – 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.

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