Could BBC-style ‘news tax’ save U.S. press?

Amid growing economic distress at newspapers and magazines, a number of folks have suggested imposing a BBC-style tax on American households to rescue the struggling print media.Could the idea work? Potentially. Would it help? Possibly. Could it really happen? You be the judge.Although the idea of a news tax raises a host of troubling questions, it has one powerful argument going for it: It

No local without us, says start-up web newsman

Working for free and doing just about everything at his bootstrap local website, veteran journalist David Boraks has become the sole source of news for his community in Davidson, NC. In this guest post, he describes life at what one of his readers calls the “21st Century replacement for the local newspaper.”By David BoraksA funny thing happened as I covered Davidson College's graduation on Sunday

Car dealer closings will crunch local ad sales

The shutdown by Chrysler and General Motors of roughly 10% of the surviving auto dealers in the United States could cost newspapers and local broadcasters millions in annual revenues they can ill afford to lose.The forced closing of a combined 1,889 dealerships ordered last week by Chrysler and GM will more than double the estimated number of dealers who went out of business in 2008 when the

Washington papers paid dearly for tax cut

Newspapers sacrificed their moral authority and compromised their credibility in exchange for the gift of a token tax break from the governor and legislature in Washington State.While the 40% tax reduction in the state’s main business signed into law on Tuesday sounds impressive, it will save the jobs of perhaps 15 reporters across all of the state’s ailing newspapers.This calculation is based on

Don’t forget Laura Ling and Euna Lee

As we celebrate the liberation of journalist Roxana Saberi from prison in Iran, don’t forget that two other innocent American newswomen are being held on similarly trumped-up charges in North Korea.Laura Ling and Euna Lee, two correspondents for San Francisco-based Current TV, have been detained in North Korea since March 17, when they were arrested while filming a story at the border between

The best man won in Berkeley j-dean search

They looked high and low for two years for a new dean for the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley but it turns out the best man was there all the time: Professor Neil Henry.As a member of the adjunct faculty recently recruited by Neil, I have not only an obvious conflict of interest but also an insider’s view on the goings-on at fabled North Gate Hall, where

What would Google do about newspapers?

This guest commentary comes from Bill Grueskin, the academic dean of the School of Journalism at Columbia University and former managing editor of WSJ.Com. For an alternative look at Google’s role in the emerging news ecosystem, see this prior post, Don’t Blame Google for Newspaper Woes. By Bill GrueskinMarissa Mayer is the Google executive whose rigid adherence to improving the user experience