I Love the Smell of Fresh Subsidy in the Morning
Hello. Welcome to Washington State. Do you print outdated news on dead trees while fleecing the advertising industry? If you answered “Yes”, we’ll give you a 40% tax break. That’s now the law in Washington.
In the last 3 years, US ad spending shrank from $230 billion to $222 billion. The two most volatile categories was the Internet and newspapers. (Everyone else pretty much stayed the same.) Internet ad revenues grew from $17B to $26B, while newspaper ad revenues shrank from $47B to $34B. In essence, the Internet started eating newspapers’ lunch in the order of $9 billion. Make no mistake. This is an epic battle to the bankruptcy filing.
What’s truly frightening is the idiotic, insular logic that brought us this bill, sponsored by state House majority leader Lynn Kessler.
“The actual newspaper reporting is meant … to get information to the public, and to make sure that our government is held accountable for decisions that government makes, and that the stories that are written are accurate, and they can get this information out to a broad section of our community,” Kessler said.
Unfortunately, she is tragically misinformed. (Maybe she should lurk moar.) Journalism is meant to do what she describes. I should know. I have a degree in it. Newspapers, on the other hand, make a profit from delivering journalism in the form of newsprint.
Wanna stifle innovation? Then give flawed business models an artificial advantage over innovating competitors.
Kessler and her ill-informed ilk have made it that much harder for those small groups of people who are advancing journalism to actually make a living doing so. But then again, a thousand independent media outlets with their own strong editorial voices would only make political life that much more difficult.