Why Not a Newspaper Bailout?

BusinessWeek colunmist Jon Fine offers a “tongue & cheek” [sic] suggestion of a bailout for the newspaper industry. In a way, why not? It’s being discussed for GM.

Fine says:

This industry employs over 52,000 journalists, thousands of other workers, and it faces unprecedented challenges. It takes more than a quadrennial sales spike from a closely watched election to save newspapers. Also, the bailout money is there, and—ask any struggling retailer or chain of hair salons soon to claim that they, too, are banks—it won’t be there forever.

Of course it’s not going to happen.

But why are autoworkers and the auto industry (which was greedy and failed to plan ahead) more worthy of Washington’s financial aid than the newspaper industry and journalists?


8 Responses to “Why Not a Newspaper Bailout?”

  1. Jennifer Persson Says:

    Totally get this line of thinking and have been thinking the same thing with respect to start up companies. One of the remaining bright spots in the US economy is high tech and innovation, but start up companies are very much discouraged right now (Sequoia’s presentation, Ron Conway etc.). The VC model definitely isn’t working for many (exceptions are proven models/super low risk, serial entrepreneurs). Angels are frozen as they watch their net worth decline etc. Several fellow entrepreneurs I’ve spoken to are either throwing in the towel or looking for funding in other countries – neither of which are good answers for the US.

  2. Malcolm Lewis Says:

    Not sure bailing out the newspaper industry gives us much bang for the bailout buck. Ditto local hair salons 😉

    I do think it would be worth injecting (non-bailout) $ into the auto industry, in exchange for equity, and only on condition that they invest the $ in developing industry-leading electric car technology.

    Personally, I’m following the Amex lead and registering myself as a bank holding company so I can get my share of the bailout billions! Hey, all I want is $10M. I promise I’ll try to spend most of it on American goods and services.

  3. MiriamEllis Says:

    I find the auto industry situation complicated, Greg. On the one hand, I’d love to see automobiles again manufactured in the U.S. – so long as they are more eco-friendly versions of the auto. But then I ask myself, “who can buy a new car right now, whether it’s powered by orange juice or not?” We certainly can’t. So, for whom would American car manufacturers be making the new ‘green’ cars if few can afford to make such an investment right now?

    Frankly, I’d like to see our government ‘get it’ and start doing a genuine trade-in policy (old cars for new) in the emergency fashion that’s clearly warranted. If global warming isn’t something that needs to be federally regulated, I don’t know what is.

    And yet…failed mortgage companies and banks seem more important.

  4. Steve Says:

    “…why are autoworkers and the auto industry (which was greedy and failed to plan ahead) more worthy of Washington’s financial aid than the newspaper industry and journalists?”

    They aren’t. A bailout of the domestic auto industry, with it’s shoddy management, would only postpone the inevitable restructuring that is required of the American automotive manufacturers, which will need to endure some relatively short-term pain to maintain long term viability.

  5. TED MCGREW Says:


  6. AGFA Says:


  7. 4Parenting Says:

    Newpaper is not about “free press” it is about the executives pay & monetizing an antiquated delivery mechanism. First, ad revenues have fallen off a cliff and should be cheaper everyday as readership declines. Costs of production have sky-rocketed…the model is dead.

    Second, it is simple elitism espued by media hyporcrits – they talk “Green” until it doesn’t make sense financially (especially their pocket books). It costs a fortunre to maintain the resources needed to supply, print and deliver an ever-declining printed rag: fuel for delievry vehicles to & from, recycling cost a forturne, supply delivery, heat, electricity, facilities, etc.

    The Internet is Here to stay – the ultimate free press green machine. Any moneys given to the media should be viewed as payback for our new president – they did a stellar job!

  8. Ted MCGREW Says:

    Times are tight. Sure wish some newspapers would buy our products.

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