Public Support.6 A New Model?

Posted on 23. Oct, 2008 by in Uncategorized

Jay Rosen asks about ideas arising for a new model for funding public journalism.

David Cohn of Spot.Us says their stories are funded with average donations of $33.  Funding for stories has slowed since the economic crisis.  

“Normally people don’t think about donating to journalism,” Cohn says.  “Unless you’re an accredited brand like NPR.”  He says reporters must get used to asking for money and citizens need to adjust their mindset.

“People want a direct relationship with where their money goes,” Cohn says, talking about NPR’s success, but a disconnect with some donors who might feel they’re “throwing their money over a fence.”

David Westphal of USC Annenberg thinks the public model can emerge.

Dardis McNamee of The Vienna Review thinks European countries show working models for government sponsorship of media that isn’t contingent on editorial content.  “We know how to do this–a regulated monopoly situation in this country.”  She says that individual funders are as influential as traditional advertisers requesting print magazines to cover sympathetic topics.

David Folkenflik of NPR notes the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is already at times fighting off attempts to influence a supposedly impenetrable firewall.

Jay Rosen wants to get past the government public funding model for now due to “practical difficulties,” although he concedes it could work locally and does exist in some forms already.

Steve Gorelick of Hunter College, CUNY says that a long-running PBS show has several staff who focus on a regular basis on legislative backlash to programming.

“Journalism is almost a form of community organizing–enter Sarah Palin joke here,” says Cohn.  “That’s how you can get support.”

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