Get ready to pay a news surcharge

Ashley Milne-Tyte Mar 13, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: Many of the country’s newspapers are having a tough time, but a new study from the Project for Excellence in Journalism puts it bluntly: If the economics of the industry don’t change, there won’t be much of an industry left. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.

ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: With revenues falling, news organizations have to keep trimming costs.

So says Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. But he says repeated staff layoffs will lead to an inevitable decline in quality.

Yet online ads aren’t bringing in enough money for newspapers. Nor is paid content.

TOM ROSENSTIEL: The failure of these experiments to charge consumers directly I think increasingly leads us to the conclusion that the cable model makes more sense for the Internet.

Customers pay a monthly fee to the cable company, and the company pays Fox, CNN and other channels out of that.

Rosenstiel says newspapers and Internet service providers could collaborate in a similar way. Consumers would pay more for Internet access, he says, and the ISP would pay the newspapers.

He says it’s one way of ensuring that consumers of news contribute to the cost of newsgathering.

In New York, I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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