No More Newspapers?

I thought the Constitution mandated freedom of the press ["Newspaper Bailout Seriously Considered," usnews.com].

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I thought the Constitution mandated freedom of the press ["Newspaper Bailout Seriously Considered," usnews.com]. How can the federal government actually consider such [bailout] legislation? Where will the money come from to help all of these newspapers? Let's face it; printed newspapers are a dying medium. The paper no longer serves a legitimate purpose to most of the communities they serve. They could stay afloat as online entities. My local community newspaper has a Web presence. I prefer it over the physical newspaper because I can go back and find articles later for reference, without keeping stacks of newsprint everywhere. Let the newspapers go the way of the telegraph, teletype, and steam locomotive. After all, we don't see the government trying to prop up those dead industries.

Comment by Ivan of MD

I am a carrier for the Tacoma News Tribune, and I cannot tell you how stupid the logic is that comes out of these Internet junkies. Has anyone ever considered the possibility that something could very well happen to our computer infrastructure? Then were would we get our media source? I am most certainly not comfortable with any bailout for all the obvious reasons. I just can't understand why these computer nerds feel it appropriate to demoralize as well as demonize a very strong part of our American history. I can understand the whole green aspect, but let's face the facts there are laws put into place that most paper products use a certain percentage of recycled goods.

Comment by Bill of WA

The government isn't offering to semi-nationalize newspapers. Even as a conservative, I think Sen. Ben Cardin's bill has some merit. My guess is that it will buy some newspapers more time to address the real problem—the rapidly increasing growth in Internet news consumption. Clearly a new paradigm in journalism has to emerge. I for one don't want to see local reporters and news outlets disappear entirely. What would we be left with? Bloggers?

Comment by Steve B. of ME

Capitalism is survival of the fittest. If a product or a company can't compete it goes the way of the dodo bird and the dinosaur. If the newspaper industry cannot change and adapt to people's changing ways of obtaining information, they too will find themselves experiencing this same fate. The newspaper industry is not any different from any other industry that exists under our capitalist system. It must either adapt or die. People's ways of obtaining information are changing. There are now 24-hour cable news networks, and the World Wide Web has democratized information. Anyone can become a reporter of sorts by blogging about an event or "Twittering" about it. CNN has even capitalized on the ability of the common person to produce news with its iReport. It will be interesting to see how the newspaper industry as a whole adapts to the new challenges it is facing. I do have concerns about the authenticity and reliability of Web journalism. The newspaper industry as we know it is on its death bed. Any direct or indirect bailout from the government is nothing more than putting an industry with a terminal disease on life support.

Comment by Nicholas Taylor of TX

I disagree with bailing out businesses. We have bankruptcy laws that should handle that job. There are all sorts of reasons for papers being in trouble. Many have gone heavily in debt borrowing to buy multimillion-dollar presses and buildings (largely to print color). These hard assets take a long time to pay for. Business can turn down very rapidly. You can see the issue. I think that the niche for a local paper is to be a local paper. Tend to local and state news and do it better than it can be done in any other way. Print news not opinion and maintain independent objectivity without trying to change the world. Go into bankruptcy if you have to get past heavy debt and publish using someone else's press. Do you suppose that the heavily unionized industry that we have today will follow that recipe? Doubtful. Will the government step in and come to their rescue? Possibly, but if it does, we lose something that rests at the heart of our nation. We lose a free press, and no matter how bad you feel about the press, it is free and independent and until now, safe from the government.

Comment by Ken St. John of NY