Healthy Skepticism among News Executives about Government Subsidies

by on April 12, 2010 · 2 comments

Good to see so many media industry executives expressing skepticism about the idea of government subsidies for the press. Danny Glover brought to my attention this new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism in association with the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) and the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). It revealed that, “Fully 75% of all news executives surveyed—and 88% of newspaper executives—said they had ‘serious reservations,’ or the highest level of concern, about direct subsidies from the government.” A smaller percentage (only 46%) had serious reservations about tax credits for news organizations, then again, only 13% said they “would welcome such funding” and just 6% said they were “enthusiastic” about it.

This is encouraging news as many government officials at the FCC, FTC, and in Congress are currently considering whether government should steps to prop up failing media entities or promote certainly types of content. Berin Szoka and I have been working on a series of essays about the wrong ways to go about reinventing media [see Part 1, Part 2] and plan several more installments leading up to a big filing in the FCC’s “Future of Media” proceeding (the deadline is May 7th).

Here’s a chart from the Pew survey illustrating funding alternatives and the percentage who had “serious reservations” about each option:

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