White House To Newspapers: Evolve Or Die
Okay, that’s not really what they said, but it’s certainly the net effect. Because there will be no bailout money forthcoming for this industry.
The White House on Monday expressed “concern” and “sadness” over the state of the ailing US newspaper industry, but made clear that a government bailout was not in the cards.
“I don’t know what, in all honesty, government can do about it,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. “That might be a bit of a tricky area to get into given the differing roles.” […]
“Obviously (President Barack Obama) believes there has to be a strong free press,” the spokesman said. “I think there’s a certain concern and a certain sadness when you see cities losing their newspapers or regions of the country losing their newspapers.”
However, while their may be no help from the White house in the form of loans, there could be a legislative solution on the horizon that would give newspapers special tax exempt status…
A US senator recently introduced legislation aimed at helping US newspapers by giving them tax breaks as non-profit organizations, an arrangement similar to that enjoyed by public broadcasting outlets, which survive on tax-deductible contributions from listeners.
Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax exempt and contributions to support coverage or operations would be tax deductible.
The only catch? Newspapers could no longer editorialize or endorse political candidates. But, honestly, do you really pay attention to newspaper endorsements anymore? I know it’s a time honored tradition, but if I had to pick between survival and subjective political opinion, I’d pick survival every single time.
Simply put, newspapers’ true value is found in their objective coverage of the locale they belong to, and if this legislation gets passed I hope they seriously consider that option.