I’m listening. Any port in a storm; any revolution after a pandemic?
Bail Out Journalists. Let Newspaper Chains Die, by Ben Smith (NYT)
The coronavirus is likely to hasten the end of advertising-driven media, our columnist writes. And government should not rescue it.
… It’s a moment of deep crisis for the local news business, which could have been blown over by a light breeze and is now facing a hurricane. But it’s also a moment of great promise for a new generation of largely nonprofit local publications.
The time is now to make a painful but necessary shift: Abandon most for-profit local newspapers, whose business model no longer works, and move as fast as possible to a national network of nimble new online newsrooms. That way, we can rescue the only thing worth saving about America’s gutted, largely mismanaged local newspaper companies — the journalists.
“We need to accept that what local news is today is already dying,” said Ms. Green, 35.
She had that realization 12 years ago when she was a local education reporter. Her newspaper, The New York Sun, went under, and she created a new nonprofit organization to stay on the beat she loved. Now, her vision has expanded. She has co-founded the American Journalism Project, which aims to create a huge network of nonprofit outlets, some organized around subjects like education or criminal justice, others focused on covering a town, a city or a state. She wants to replace the hundreds of local newspapers now owned by hedge funds that are slowly being bled dry …