Tag Archives: journalism

A news tax on fast food?


I recently wrote about the issue of subsidies for public-interest news gathering for TReehouse. Though I realize there is little chance such subsidies will be realized given the current political climate, I support the idea as a way to help ensure public-interest journalism remains viable.

AltDaily, an alternative news website in Hampton Roads, Va., has a somewhat related discussion going at its Facebook page about whether folks might support a fast food tax to fund investigative reporting at The Virginian-Pilot.

The discussion, as I write this, shows that some folks do not understand that news gathering organizations, including corporate ones, have historically been subsidized by various forms of government. Some remain so today, both directly and indirectly.

My feeling continues to be that this has not demonstrably been shown to cause an ethical conflict that is in any way different than those conflicts facing news organizations covering corporate interests with which they engage in business relationships. Applying logic and caution might contain concerns about slanted or tainted coverage with subsidies of various types or sizes in place.

The potential for conflict, of course, is great. Potential conflict and realized conflict are two distinct matters. They should be treated as such.

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Photo: Patriotic Bench in Cradock


Patriotic bench outside the firehouse in Cradock, a community in Portsmouth, Va. Photo by John Doucette.

I shot this as part of research for a story, but it’s not the sort of thing that would get published. I just like the bench.

Cradock is a neat neighborhood. The streets were designed to resemble an anchor, which makes a lot of sense for our communities within Hampton Roads, Va. Some history is available here.

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More on “The Case for Publicly Financed Journalism”


Short blog post for the company is here, with links to the longer essay at TReehouse.

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“The Case for Publicly Financed Journalism” @ TReehouse


I recently wrote an essay about publicly financed public-interest newsgathering for TReehouse, a website based in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, and edited by Tom Robotham, formerly the editor of Port Folio Weekly.

I contribute to Tom’s site a few times a year, and what I write for Tom’s site is a bit different than the work I do for Vox Optima LLC.

Here’s the link to the essay.

This essay is not about saving newspapers, as some comments at Vivian Paige’s blog post on what I wrote imply. I’m concerned with the ability to gather news, not necessarily the technology or form used in disseminating the information once the reporting is accomplished.

Thoughts are always appreciated.

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