posted on Sep, 20 2009 @ 08:26 PM
reply to post by mental modulator
The bill referenced in the article was submitted in March. That's when
article was posted as well.
A few highlights:
But first, the idea must overcome skepticism from the very newspapers that stand to benefit. Critics say endowments also could beholden
newspapers to their large donors, and giving newspapers tax-exempt status could restrict them from endorsing candidates and running editorials
on pending legislation.
On a more practical level, skeptics question whether the millions and millions of dollars needed to create such endowments could be raised during the
worst recession in decades.
An endowment might not help preserve a newspaper's printed edition, but could save core, expensive functions such as investigative
reporting and foreign correspondents as newspapers transition to the Internet, said Steven Coll, former managing editor of The Washington Post and now
president of the New America Foundation think tank.
Consider the St. Petersburg Times, which has no endowment but is owned by a nonprofit group, Poynter. The newspaper has had to trim newsroom staff
to about 300, down from 430 at the end of the 1990s. Another Poynter unit, Congressional Quarterly Inc., is up for sale.
Swensen, who declined to comment beyond his column in the Times, estimates a large newspaper such as the Times would need a $5 billion endowment,
assuming a 5 percent annual payout from the fund, to support annual costs of $200 million. Smaller papers would need less.
He acknowledges that only a handful of foundations and wealthy individuals have the money required for such endowments.
Making them tax-exempt isn't going to magically fix their revenue problems, they'll still need funding. Where does that funding come from? Tax-payer
dollars or endowments. Do you honestly see many places forking up $5 billion for an endowment for a newspaper that will be prevented from lobbying for
any specific candidate and possibly even unable to run op-ed's about legislation? I sure don't.
Edit: Went back to read what I'd missed while typing and reading this article, and you're right that it isn't exactly a bailout per se, but that
funding is still going to have to come from somewhere. So my apologies.
[edit on 20-9-2009 by Jenna]