Government aid could save U.S. newspapers, spark debate

Should local papers get a slice of the bail-out pie?

Nicastro and fellow legislators want the papers to survive, and
petitioned the state government to do something about it. “The media is
a vitally important part of America,” he said, particularly local
papers that cover news ignored by big papers and television and radio
stations.

To some experts, that sounds like a bailout, a word that resurfaced
this year after the U.S. government agreed to give hundreds of billions
of dollars to the automobile and financial sectors.

Relying on government help raises ethical questions for the press,
whose traditional role has been to operate free from government
influence as it tries to hold politicians accountable to the people who
elected them. Even some publishers desperate for help are wary of this
route. — Robert MacMillan (Reuters)