High-end journalism can and should bite
any hand that tries to feed it, and it should bite a government hand
most viciously. Moreover, it is the right of every American to
despise his local newspaper – for being too liberal or too
conservative, for covering X and not covering Y, for spelling your
name wrong when you do something notable and spelling it
correctly when you are seen as dishonorable. And it is the
birthright of every healthy newspaper to hold itself indifferent to
such constant disdain and be nonetheless read by all. Because in
the end, despite all flaws, there is no better model for a
comprehensive and independent review of society than a modern
newspaper. As love-hate relationships go, this is a pretty intricate
one. An exchange of public money would pull both sides from
their comfort zone and prove unacceptable to all.
But a non-profit model intrigues, especially if that model
allows for locally-based ownership and control of news
organizations. Anything that government can do in the way of
creating non-profit status for newspapers should be seriously
pursued.– David Simon, Hearing on the Future of Journalism, US Senate
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