Perfectly easy way to rescue newspapers (October 16 2012) Perfectly easy way to rescue newspapers (October 16 2012)

David Leigh the 66 year old British journalist, author and the investigations executive editor of The Guardian is the subject of an article by Dan Hind on Aljazeera titled ‘Reincarnating the newspaper industry’. Hind states “…Leigh set out what he called a “perfectly easy way to rescue newspapers, ensure media plurality and monetise the web” – add a £2 ($3.2) monthly levy on broadband fees and thereby raise around £500 million ($807 million) a year. The money would then be distributed to news operations “according to their share of UK online readership”. …Revenues from print sales are in steep decline, he said, and paywalls won’t work in the UK, because of the BBC. …The lean pickings from web advertising on a free newspaper site will only pay for a fraction of the high-quality investigative journalism that commercial newspapers generate. We’ll just get the timid BBC on the one hand, and superficial junk on the other.” …here’s what I see as the main problem with Leigh’s suggestion. The distribution mechanism he proposes will not serve the stated aim. …While some good investigative journalism does appear in British newspapers, it accounts for only a tiny fraction of content as a whole. Much more space is given to celebrity gossip, chitchat from Westminster, lifestyle features, sports coverage, scare stories about immigrants, half-baked nonsense about the economy and similar “superficial junk”. …Leigh’s levy would go to those news operations with large online readerships, regardless of the amount of “high-quality investigative journalism” they commissioned and published. This will tend to reward, and preserve, incumbency.”


Inspired by Dan Hind image source Twitter