Today’s thought comes from Geoff, who is editor for Where I Stand. He wrote this interesting article for his blog about whether not online journalism can survive the death of newspapers. One of the topics in the essay is one he expands upon in an email: Should newspapers, in fact, be non-profits?
“I wrote an essay last month that questioned why the default funding model for journalism has always been for-profit. As if reporting the truth and profits were mutually beneficial pursuits. The business of journalism isn't like the business of, say, retail. True, competitive culture partly drives the pursuit of scoops, leads and sources, but was Woodward thinking about a sales commission during all those 2 a.m. rendezvous with Deep Throat? No. And is the New York Times Iraq bureau really an efficient and streamlined use of its budget? Well, no.
“But it exists for a larger purpose than bottom lines. There's a consensus that societies are better off with a fully-functioning press yet we're willing to jeopardize it in the name of competition. Just doesn't seem like a reasonable compromise.”
I don’t know enough about non-profits co really dive into this question ... but it sure seems like there is something here. An editor once told me: “Everybody wants the news, but nobody wants to own it.” I always thought that was a weird thing to say. Now, I wonder.