Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Stimulus Funding for Public Media

According to (h/t matttbastard), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NPR and PBS have proposed $550 million for public media in the stimulus bill.

And I think it's an excellent idea. Hell, I think it doesn't go far enough.

I don't think anyone on here is going to argue with me that newspapers are dying. Yes, blogs are taking up a lot of the slack, but here's the biggest problem with blogs: most of us are responding and commenting on actual news reported by full-time journalists (even if a lot of said full-time journalists do a crap job).

Blogging is not journalism. You can do journalism on a blog, but journalism requires going out and gathering information, new information, and presenting it to the public. If the newspapers and news services go out of business, where would we get the stories that we write and talk about?

The newspaper industry was already in a death spiral, and don't get me started about the non-stellar reporting of television news. Now that the economy has crashed, newspapers are dying even faster than before--check out the interactive map of layoffs here. (h/t NewsTechZilla).

Where will we get our news when our newspapers are gone? Don't seriously tell me you learn anything from your local news affiliate.

Public media is more important than ever in these times. NPR's Web site has excellent interactive features, and could grow even more with proper funding. We need a news service that actually does original reporting and covers the world.

You can read a PDF of the letter sent to the transition team on the website.

I know a lot of bloggers like to pride themselves on contributing to the death of the MSM, but the fact remains that the original reporting doesn't get done without someone who is paid a living wage and can devote full time to really working on getting the story. Studies have shown that NPR listeners were the most informed citizens in the country on issues like the Iraq war.

I pride myself on actually doing original reporting, but I can't afford to go hit the trail of a big story that I'd like to dig up--I have a full-time job and freelance work on the site. We need to make sure that someone's doing the work of actually finding the stories on which to report.