I really enjoyed the Fool.com’s article that is critical of the potential government bailout of newspapers. Because of my geodomain holdings, I’ve been keeping tabs on the state of the newspaper industry by reading as much as I can, and the article really sums up my feelings on any type of government assistance to newspaper companies.
In my opinion (and many others), the newspaper printing and delivery model for news consumption DEAD, and the companies need to reorganize and change their strategies, without help from the government. Media and news delivery isn’t dead – just the way newspaper media companies deliver the news via print. By the time the “news” is printed, it’s old news that nobody wants to read unless they are stuck on a train or in a waiting room somewhere and their Ipod, Blackberry, or other device doesn’t have reception. (**Edit** or don’t have modern devices.)
Entrepreneurial journalists such as Ron Jackson and Andrew Allemann (in the domain industry) are proving that the interactive model of news delivery is where it’s at, and if you look around their site (and mine, too), you will see that advertisers are still paying for placement, showing that there is a way to make money online, as papers like the NY Times hasn’t figured out. I suppose when you have HUGE overhead expenses, it can be difficult to make it viable, but that’s their problem, not our government’s problem (and my problem since I pay lots of taxes).
People aren’t sacrificing knowledge simply because they don’t receive a print edition of a newspaper – they are getting the news from many sources online, instantly – as the news actually unfolds, and they don’t need the NY Times or another newspaper to tell them about breaking news.
Just because a particular business model is outdated does not justify the government’s involvement in a handout. There are plenty of ways to make money in the journalism space, and the newspaper companies are either not smart enough to figure it out, or they have too much overhead to make it work, or maybe there is a reason I missed. With any of these options, I don’t see how a bailout is going to help in the long run, other than giving people working in obsolete jobs a few months of pay before the government handout is gone.
I am very sorry for all the people who are responsible for printing the papers, delivering the papers, monitoring the staff of printers…etc. Unfortunately for them, their business model is no longer viable. I would be significantly annoyed that the government might try and help my competitors who are using a business model that doesn’t work any longer.