February 8, 2010

From Democracy Now -- Robert McChesney and John Nichols on “The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again”:

University of Illinois Professor Robert McChesney and The Nation correspondent John Nichols, two leading advocates of the media reform movement, join us to talk about their new book, The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again. McChesney and Nichols argue that journalism should be seen as a public good and that the government should help save American journalism by granting more subsidies to newspapers and media outlets.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, 2009 was one of the bleakest years in memory for the news industry. One count found that 142 daily and weekly newspapers closed down, nearly triple the number in 2008.

Colorado’s oldest newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, shut its doors last February. The nation’s oldest gay and lesbian newspaper, the Washington Blade, abruptly closed in November. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer scaled down to a web-only publication. The Christian Science Monitor became a weekly publication.

Many other news organizations slashed the size of their newsrooms. An estimated 90,000 workers lost their jobs last year in the newspaper, magazine and book publishing industry.

Our next guests argue that journalism should be seen as a public good, that the government should help save American journalism by granting more subsidies to newspapers and media outlets. Robert McChesney and John Nichols make their case in a book titled The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again. They argue that government subsides for journalism have a long history in the United States dating back to the founding of the country, when newspaper and journal publishers received large printing and postal subsidies.

AMY GOODMAN: Robert McChesney and John Nichols write, quote, “Like all public goods, we need the resources to get it produced. This is the role of the state and public policy. It will require a subsidy and should be regarded as similar to the education system or the military in that regard.”

Well, Bob McChesney and John Nichols join us here in New York. Robert McChesney is a professor at the University of Illinois. John Nichols is the Washington correspondent for The Nation magazine. Together they helped found the media organization Free Press. Their new book is called The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again. Read on...

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