Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Could the 'Cable Model' Help Newspapers?

By Andy Alexander

There’s been talk lately about trying to save America’s newspapers by offering them nonprofit, tax-exempt status. Proposals have been floated that would preserve newspapers through various forms of philanthropy by local individuals, foundations or institutions.

But Tom Rosenstiel, the director of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, says that relying on philanthropic backing simply won’t work. Speaking today at NPR headquarters to members of the Organization of News Ombudsmen, Rosentiel said that even if America’s newspapers eliminated their costly print editions and shifted online, “you’re still down to about $20 billion” a year to fund them all. “There just isn’t $20 billion in nonprofit money that people want to throw away and not get back every year,” he said. “American philanthropy is just not large enough to do that.”

One idea he thinks is worth considering is what he calls the “cable model.” Just as monthly customer fees help pay for cable content provided by channels ranging from CNN to Golf, Rosenstiel envisions that a portion of Internet access fees could be used to help pay for newspaper content made available online.

“Is there a mechanism to do that?” he wondered. “Is there a way for the news industry, collectively, to define... who would get money and how much money they would get based on usage?”

“It’s not quite the same as cable,” he acknowledged, “but this prospect has not even been explored.”

By Andy Alexander  | May 12, 2009; 7:26 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: News Ombudsmen Are 'Vulnerable Targets' as Budgets Shrink
Next: More on Online Comments

Comments

No, there is no "Cable Model" that will save newspapers.

It costs too much and takes too much work to gather the news, and to get it into usable form.

There IS a way to use the internet to make significant incomes for news papers. It has been possible since the late 1970's. Nobody within the news paper community is likely to see it, though, and none of the community is willing to ask an outsider what the process is.

The process is for sale, at quite reasonable prices.

Is anybody interested?

Posted by: ceflynline | May 12, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

No, there is no "Cable Model" that will save newspapers.

It costs too much and takes too much work to gather the news, and to get it into usable form.

There IS a way to use the internet to make significant incomes for news papers. It has been possible since the late 1970's. Nobody within the news paper community is likely to see it, though, and none of the community is willing to ask an outsider what the process is.

The process is for sale, at quite reasonable prices.

Is anybody interested?

Posted by: ceflynline | May 12, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company