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19 UCLA Ent. L. Rev. 189 (2012)
A Public Press - Evaluating the Viability of Government Subsides for the Newspaper Industry

handle is hein.journals/uclaetrlr19 and id is 193 raw text is: A Public Press? Evaluating the Viability
of Government Subsidies for the
Newspaper Industry
Brad A. Greenberg*
Despite the availability of information from online news
organizations and new media outlets, newspapers remain the primary
contributor of new content to the marketplace of information and
ideas-integral in setting the agenda for public discourse, connecting
readers with their communities, reducing the costs of citizen oversight
on elected officials, and producing investigative and local news
reports. But newspaper economics have sparked massive reductions in
editorial operations and threaten the press's role in American dem-
ocratic society. The strong public interest in preserving the newspaper
industry should compel Congress to stabilize the press.
Journalists, politicians, and legal scholars have discussed many
possible solutions. This Comment evaluates the practical and con-
stitutional questions raised by two potential public subsidy programs-
direct government funding and indirect support by facilitating
newspaper conversion to nonprofit status-and whether such programs
could be administered without jeopardizing the Fourth Estate's
independence. This Comment argues that direct subsidies, though they
could be tailored to survive constitutional challenge and to protect
editorial independence, cannot deliver a feasible long-term solution.
Indirect subsidies likely would only be available to newspapers
following an amendment to the U.S. tax code and even then would
provide limited benefit to qualiying newspapers until they have devel-
oped a fundraising base. Yet, this Comment concludes that subsidies
could stabilize the press practically if Congress combined direct
funding and tax-based incentives into a hybrid similar to that utilized
by public radio.
* Editor-in-Chief. UCLA Entertainment Law Review, vol. 19. J.D. Candidate, UCLA School
of Law, 2012. Special thanks to Professors Curt Hessler and Eugene Volokh; my former
newspaper colleague and classmate Dan Laidman: my ELR colleagues. especially David
McGrath and Elena Grieco; Stephanie Turner and my family. This Comment is for every
journalist still fighting the good newspaper fight.

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