Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Coming soon to a newspaper near you: pledge drives!

If an idea being floated by a U.S. Senator becomes reality, newspapers could qualify for the same tax status as public broadcasting stations.
A bill by Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., would let newspapers choose a tax-exempt status similar to public broadcasting stations.

Under the arrangement, newspapers would not be allowed to make political endorsements, but would be allowed to freely report on all issues, including political campaigns. Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax-exempt and contributions to support coverage or operations could be tax-deductible.

"We are losing our newspaper industry," Cardin said. "The economy has caused an immediate problem, but the business model for newspapers, based on circulation and advertising revenue, is broken, and that is a real tragedy for communities across the nation and for our democracy."

In recent months, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Rocky Mountain News, the Baltimore Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others, have either ceased daily publication or announced that they may have to stop publishing.

A number of other publications, including newspapers owned by the Tribune Company, owners of The Baltimore Sun, have filed for bankruptcy or have had to institute severe cutbacks.

"While we have lots of news sources, we rely on newspapers for in-depth reporting that follows important issues, records events and exposes misdeeds," Cardin said.

According to Barclays Capital, newspaper advertising revenue was down by about 25 percent for 2008, and circulation continues to steadily decline at most major newspapers as readers increasingly turn to alternative electronic news sources.

"This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains, but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat," Cardin said.

Reports of layoffs and furloughs at newspapers around the country have become common in recent months.
I don't think treating newspapers like charity cases will enhance respect for the industry. Hat tip: email


Anonymous said...

since newpapers will be online only SOON does that mean online websites that report on (any kind of)news will also be exempt?

Thats a hard thing to regulate. Dont see it happening.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry, Obama's Compulsory Service Act has passed, soon,
we'll ALL have jobs again.

News Update:
Orwells 1984 has now moved to

Anonymous said...

Basically we would have government run newspapers at that point. The IRS could threaten losing their not for profit staus if they didn't tow the line. That's a great idea-- for Nazi Germany not the United States of America.

Anonymous said...

Works for any place that is Communist or Socialist including the UK. Those poor bastard don't even know that Government owned and Independent are mutually exclusive terms.

Anonymous said...

Under the arrangement, newspapers would not be allowed to make political endorsements, but would be allowed to freely report on all issues, including political campaigns.

In other words: They wouldn't be able to actually say "we endorse Obama". But they would be able to sing his praises while simultaneously crapping on all things conservative, which is what they do now.

So, no thanks. Let the newspapers die and let something more worthy of our attention take their place. Sorry, McClatchy employees, but you work for an organization that is better off dead.

Anonymous said...

What about using those Barry Soetoro trinkets?
I heard there are zillions of Barry Soetoro (aka) Barack Obama trinkets in boxes, available as incentives for a TV pledge drive, to fund liberal rags. Think of it, for a $100 pledge you will receive a wooden nickel with a likeness of the ‘Depression President’ smoking a Venezuelan cigar, and a Chavez quote, “ignoramus.”

Anonymous said...

PBS-type Beg-A-Thons, plus federal funding? What type of parasite would want to work for a newspaper company? No thanks.

Anonymous said...

Pledge drive incentive: Burkas in an array of designer colors chosen by tenderhearted terrorists.

Anonymous said...

Pravda pledge incentive:
A photo of a Soros stooge running on a beach in Hawaii, pectoral muscles glistening in the sunlight, laughing or smiling while discussing the global economic crisis, with the inscription,
'Are You Punch-Drunk?'

Anonymous said...

Bad idea....

Newspapers have not really had to change much so far.

Radio had to compete with TV and it survived and is doing well...

TV is competing with the Internet and doing much better with technology and turning its business model around.

Newspapers just cry because of a few (horrible) rounds of layoffs.

We haven't seen the kind of devastation at newspapers that radio suffered -- and they are stil around.

Please wake me up when people at newspapers have REALLY changed their thinking...

Four major newspapers close (two in two newspaper cities) and all of a sudden "let's let them all go non-profit" mentality takes over??