The Stars And Stripes Model
Reader SH writes in:
Because I'm currently in Iraq, I a) missed the debate between you and Matt Welch and b) think the Department of Defense's relationship with the Stars and Stripes is worth discussing in this argument.
Stars and Stripes is partially funded by DoD, but does a pretty good job of maintaining editorial independence from the military. While most of the content comes from syndication and the wire services, they do engage in solid reporting about the military and topics of interest to military personnel. The paper still sells advertising and recoups some operating costs that way.
This way, those of us in the Middle East (and servicemembers in Europe and Asia) can get a newspaper delivered fairly consistently in printed form, or as a formatted pdf file, for no cost to ourselves.
You media-type guys know a lot more about the media than I do, but I'm thinking that this model could be modified to work for state or large municipal governments to fund media enterprises. One of these hypothetical newspapers could hire a staff of reporters and editors to focus on local issues, and run stuff from the AP or someone for national/international news. There'd be quite a few specific details to work out regarding how to truly ensure editorial independence, but it's worth a discussion.
I don't know too much about the Stars and Stripes model. Maybe Spencer Ackerman does? Or some of you do?
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