Why the public must pay for failing press
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An analysis from CBC’s Don Pittis casts 2024 as a year when governments must create policy to protect the role of the #4thestate.
How bad is the global journalism crisis?
A tweet quote from the same story examples a slow climb in the United States, over decades, to more than us$60 billion by the early 2000s.
Then a dramatic plunge after double blows from the advent of online advertising, and the 2007 Global Financial Crisis.
By now, of course, revenues and newsroom staffers will have shrunk even further since the global pandemic.
A graph via Statista shows newspaper newsroom numbers at 75,000 in 2006 – just before the GFC – down to barely 30,000 after the pandemic:
In the Canadian context, Pittis quotes former Calgary Herald publisher Peter Menzies, who worked a decade on the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, as saying that in their chase for big tech cash, government is failing to focus on the crucial political and economic role of providing Canadians with news.
“You have to have a national news policy. It should have been done ages ago.”
As CBC reports, Menzies has outlined his ideas in a detailed report written with a former head of the Competition Bureau, Konrad von Finckenstein, and published by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.
However, the report seems to call for reliance on the same sector that caused US newsrooms to fire over half their staff in a single 15 year period – free markets.
“Allowing market forces to drive the industry is, ultimately, the solution.”
Menzies and Finckenstein do call on authorities to end collection of commercial revenues by the state broadcaster.
CBC, they say, gets $1.2 billion in state support each year, but also draws in $80 million year in digital news advertising, amongst some $400 million a year in broadcast advertising.
State broadcasters competing with private sector media seems a bizarre situation, one that angers some, such as in New Zealand, as illogical.
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