Help wanted: Senate bill seeks to assist struggling newspapers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Just thought you media watchers out there might like to know that the decline of the American newspaper has reached the Senate floor.

In fact, as Congressional Quarterly reported today, members of Congress are now proposing ways to help “from allowing media organizations to form as nonprofits to easing antitrust laws.”

(Incidentally, Congressional Quarterly — the Hill publication that media organizations, Congressional staffers and politicians rely on for detailed play-by-play information on policy debates and other Congressional odds and ends — is for sale.)

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., introduced legislation Tuesday to permit newspapers to operate as nonprofits, or 501(c)3 corporations. (MinnPost is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.) Among other things, this would mean that newspapers would not be allowed to make political endorsements. They would, however, be able to continue coverage of politics and campaigns.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 03/26/2009 - 02:02 am.

    Br-r-r-illiant!

    You say your industry is dying, no one wants your product, your bottom line looks like crap?

    No problem! Simply declare yourself a non-profit!

    Br-r-r-illiant!

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 03/27/2009 - 05:22 pm.

    Mr. Titterud: The problem is that newspapers can no longer sustain themselves with advertising revenue, partly because that revenue has fallen AND partly because their new corporate owners insist on about twice the profit newspapers made when they were owned by those committed to the exercise of a free press instead of to bottom-line short-term dollar grabbing.

    I for one would be delighted to pay an annual fee like the one I pay to public TV and public radio to help preserve the tradition of original and in-depth investigative reporting and analysis, especially where it concerns government. (Not that MinnPost and other on-line newspapers aren’t doing a great job, but I think we also need traditional papers.)

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