by Seth Lipsky
April 22, 2014
Today’s media institutions are collapsing from within. Beset with declining circulation and advertising revenues, newspapers and magazines are struggling to find their footing in the new digital landscape where, we are told, information wants to be both free in price and free of control. Though they perform what many people consider to be a public service, the ability to make vigorous profits via mass sales of advertising and circulation has been the first and last source of the media’s independence from government control and other pressure. Yet, a recent report by the Columbia School of Journalism called for, among other things, the introduction of a system of government subsidies to news organizations. I am skeptical of the idea that not-for-profit journalism and philanthropically supported publications are the answer to the industry’s woes. It is urgent for news organizations to find a for-profit model that holds up in the digital age.