Giving Compass’ Take:
• Rhaina Cohen, Shankar Vedantam, and Tara Boyle discuss the consequences of subscribers abandoning local newspapers, including putting the watchdogs out of business.
• How can funders help to find a sustainable way to keep watch on governments, business, and others?
• Learn about driving revenue with solutions journalism.
There are plenty of ways today to pay little—or nothing—to read the news. There are free blogs. There’s Facebook and Twitter. Who needs a subscription to a local newspaper?
Millions of Americans have decided they don’t. But new research suggests this strategy may have costs in the long run. That’s because newspapers are not like most things we buy. If you decide not to buy a watch or a cappuccino, you save money. But if you decide not to pay for a police department, you might save money in the short run, but end up paying more in the long run.
Whereas most of us treat newspapers like consumer products, new research from Paul Gao, Chang Lee, and Dermot Murphy suggests that they might be more like police departments. Gao, Lee, and Murphy looked at how newspaper closures might affect the cost of borrowing in local governments. What they found is a price tag that may give many taxpayers sticker shock.
Read the full article about who will keep watch when newspapers disappear by Rhaina Cohen, Shankar Vedantam, and Tara Boyle at NPR.
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