David Cohn, 2010-2011 Fellow
Profits are killing journalism.
Publishers and editors care more about the bottom line than the quality of their reporting. Newsrooms are shrinking, as a result, and good stories have gone untold. The public is worse off because of it.
So goes one argument, at least, in the debate about public funding of journalism. It’s a hot topic that appears immune to any clear-cut solution, and it’s shaking the foundation of what it means to do journalism and the best way to do it. Among the big questions are:
Should public funding expand to cover the gaps left by the shrinking private news business? Could it expand without government support, and would this create conflicts? Would a heavily subsidized public media serve us better than the private media? If so, how?
With a sponsorship from Free Press, we asked the Spot.Us community to tell us what they thought. Then, we invited the 407 users who took the survey to decide where the sponsorship dollars would go, which is to say, we handed over a part of our budget to them, in return for their two cents.