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The Answer to the Media Industry's Woes? Publicly Owned Newspapers.

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/20/answer-media-industrys-woes-publicly-owned-newspapers

This is a good idea. Plainly, journalism suffers–and, consequently, so does the idea of Jeffersonian democracy–when subject to the whims of the profit motive.

It’s also worth remembering that unions and granges used to publish their own newspapers, and operate independent radio stations as well. Let the Gray Lady clutch her pearls.

Or auction them off.

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The media has abrogated their responsibility for too long.

We are now living in a “post-truth” society - anyone (with enough money and connections) can say anything they want without care or consequence.

The trust has been lost.

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But it’s so great to hear stock market number counts, down from yesterday, up from tomorrow. whee! When am I gonna get my self-driving car everybody, just everybody is talking about? I hear electric airplanes are the next big thing. Seriously, Daimler’s BEV Truck is a colossal waste of battery/charging resources. The Tesla ‘S’ sedans are the most over-rated EVs on the road. No explaining why they’re popular with the well dressed sophisticated crowd.

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“What a wonderful world
It will be
What a glorious time
To be free…”
–Steely Dan, IGY

Don’t know if publicly-owned newspspers are the “answer to the media industry’s woes”, but it is certainy a great idea in terms of access & exposure to … news, information, and truths.

This should apply to radio & TV, as well, where possible.

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Woody Allen movie “Sleeper” 1973 had self-driving cars, seats facing inwards, windows ‘fogged’ for security? Only the ruling class of 2073 rode podcars with clear windows. Fortunately, they couldn’t clone the dear leader’s nose into a new dear leader so they were left leaderless. (^:

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It is a great idea. Should be extended to internet, radio, and TV. However, it would have to be legitimately public. Pseudo public media like NPR and PBS are of no more use than their totally owned corporate partners. In some respects they are the worst propagandists out there because they have the false mantle of public when most of their programing is sponsored by entities such as Kochs and Exxon Mobile.

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I’m sure publicly owned media would bring the conservatives and liberals together. Bwahahahaha!

That’s what several Asian countries did in order to advance economically, i.e., nationalize not just media but even utilities and other key industries.

Publicly owned newspapers are the answer. But this article is about government owned newspapers.

Publicly owned newspapers/media would be a non-profit organization that sold shares to citizens and used that money to buy and/or create media outlets to compete with the corporate owned media.

These shares would cost 100 dollars each and no one person could own more than 10 shares. These shares could only be sold for 100 dollars as the purpose for owning the shares would be to own the media outlet and not make money buying and selling the shares.

Just 10% of voters nationally investing 100 dollars in buying shares would total over 1 billion dollars.

I have suggested this to Ralph Nader as he would be a good person to lead this effort and be part of the board that oversees it.

It could be set up as a national organization that sends support staff to the local publications that need help when local issues arise as well as cover national issues.

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A publicly owned newspaper sounds great, except that we need to remember first-off that the government is not the public.

Something like a news-producing cooperative might work–avoiding the ownership of a single private entity, avoiding the ownership of the government whose oversight is a newspaper’s primary responsibility.

Otherwise, this is a conflict of interest.

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“Newspapers must be for the people. It’s worth investing our tax dollars in them.”

— 'NUFF SAID!!

“… we need to remember first-off that the government is not the public.”

Sadly so.

But … not as it should be. the public’s voice and needs should be, as best as possible, reflected BY our Government. THAT…is a major goal in establishing and maintaining a democracy.

Lots of work yet for us to accomplish.

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I worked in newspapers for two decades before switching to the practice of law. I oppose the notion of government-operated newspapers.

What is happening is that one technology (dead tree print media) is being replaced by another (web-based news services). Journalism itself is alive and well. The new technology is grabbing that market because we like the new technology better.

Where before I could afford no more than a very few newspapers, I can now choose from thousands of news sites world-wide, with more being created all the time. This is largely because of a difference in required investment. While I am very sentimental about hot type means of newspaper production and miss holding a dead tree newspaper in my hands, I can’t escape the obvious: I could never afford to create my own newspaper. But I can create my own news web site with not much more investment than my time, a bit of study of software usage, and my existing computer system.

Another difference is that because of that investment requirement, newspapers had a natural monopoly on journalism. So we wound up with the “newsroom” that provided workspace for a lot of journalists. But that concentration crowded out of a lot of people who would like to write news articles and resulted in a narrow, highly filtered viewpoint of society, heavily influenced by advertisers.

But now, we have a multitude of news sites including the community-centric; and more viewpoints are being expressed, which is good. Most such sites depend on donations for their expenses, a few (many operated by newspapers) require paid subscriptions, and some depend on advertising revenues.

For international news, we used to be entirely dependent on United Press International and for national news on UPS or Associated Press (few newspapers subscribed to both), both highly filtered sources. But now we can access both foreign and national news from a plethora of news sites and personal correspondence.

There’s also the environmental destruction that goes with the agroforestry industry. Having been raised (and still living) in a logging community, I can testify that it ain’t pretty. And one thing newspapers require is the paper that feeds that environmental deI worked in newspapers for two decades before switching to the practice of law. I oppose the notion of government-operated newspapers.

What is happening is that one technology (dead tree print media) is being replaced by another (web-based news services). Journalism itself is alive and well. The new technology is grabbing that market because it likes the new technology better.

Where before I could afford no more than a very few newspapers, I can now choose from thousands of news sites world-wide, with more being created all the time. This is largely because of a difference in required investment. While I am very sentimental about hot type means of newspaper production and miss holding a dead tree newspaper in my hands, I can’t escape the obvious: I could never afford to create my own newspaper. But I can create my own news web site with not much more investment than my time, a bit of study of software usage, and my existing computer system.

Another difference is that because of that investment requirement, newspapers had a natural monopoly on journalism. So we wound up with the “newsroom” that provided workspace for a lot of journalists. But that concentration crowded out of a lot of people who would like to write news articles and resulted in a narrow, highly filtered viewpoint of society, heavily influenced by advertisers.

But now, we have a multitude of news sites including the community-centric; and more viewpoints are being expressed, which is good. Most such sites depend on donations for their expenses, a few (many operated by newspapers) require paid subscriptions, and some depend on advertising revenues.

For international news, we used to be entirely dependent on United Press International and for national news on UPS or Associated Press (few newspapers subscribed to both), both highly filtered sources. But now we can access both foreign and national news from a plethora of news sites and personal correspondence.

There’s also the environmental destruction that goes with the agroforestry industry. Having been raised (and still living) in a logging community, I can testify that it ain’t pretty. And one thing newspapers require is the paper that feeds that environmental destruction.

As much as I enjoyed working in newspapers, I wouldn’t want to go back to those days. Let’s face reality; the newspaper era is over. And what we got in return is far better.

Tax dollars that might be spent on government-owned newspapers would, in my opinion, be far better spent on community reading centers where those who cannot afford computers can access the Internet…

As much as I enjoyed working in newspapers, I wouldn’t want to go back to those days. Let’s face reality; the newspaper era is over. And what we got in return is far better.

Tax dollars that might be spent on government-owned newspapers would, in my opinion, be far better spent on community reading centers where those who cannot afford computers can access the Internet.