Friday, 4 June 2010

What May Come

There is a curious piece over at Fox News today...a paper generated last year within the FTC...to help failing news platforms.

Folks...especially journalists....are getting worried about the future of journalism. The mere suggestion that we've peaked on news and salary structure is too high....makes journalists (real and wannabe guys)....shake.

So they mention some ideas in this paper they wrote:

-- the creation of a "journalism" division of AmeriCorps, the federal program that places 75,000 people with local and national nonprofit groups annually;

-- tax credits to news organizations for every journalist employed;

-- establishing citizenship news vouchers, which "would allow every American tax payer to allocate some amount of government funds to the non-profit media organization" of their choice;

-- increased funding for public radio and television;

-- providing grants to universities to conduct investigative journalism;

-- increased postal subsidies for newspapers and periodicals;

-- a 5 percent tax on consumer electronics, which would generate roughly $4 billion annually, to pay for increased public funding.
I sat to ponder over these....and started laughing. A tax to give money to a dinosaur organization that can't survive in today's economy? Government subsidies for not just daily newspapers but even monthly periodicals (Time, Newsweek, and Hustler perhaps?). Then giving out more money to get even more journalists into a crowded field already? Dumping more tax revenue into a public TV/radio pit....which fixes what problem?

The best one of the bunch....taking Americorps....and just using it as a temp vehicle for unemployed journalists to sit around and wait for a real job to occur. What exactly would they be doing? Writing pages of text....on septic tanks in Baldwin county?

Basically....a chapter has turned in America....folks won't read news anymore because they tend to disagree with the slant. They don't want support their local paper because they disagree with it. Local papers....whether for 100,000 local folks or one million....have kept agreeing to salary increases that make no sense. You have a guy making $75k a year and he writes six articles a week over mostly the status of public parks, homeless folks, and museum updates (something that a nineteen year old kid could write for $24k a year).

A protected group? You have to wonder. It's funny....they didn't really work hard to cover the butcher profession, the farming profession, or the 'lost-but-unforgiven' ministers in America group.

Would congress fund this? I could see a few tax credits being given out to newspapers....to save $10k here and $50k there....and it might help organizations that cut high salary reporters and got a better business model. The problem is....if they still write articles that folks won't read....and folks still don't buy their paper....then we are using our precious tax revenue for a dead "fish".

Knowing Republicans will eventually arrive in Congress....they might make this interesting with tax credits for hiring circus-performers as journalists, or encouraging loser newspapers to pump out four pages of farm & agriculture updates a week, or requiring newspapers to use larger font sizes for older folks.

Something here....doesn't make sense.