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02-18-2010, 06:44 PM
Communication Scholar Makes the Case for Subsidies To Save Journalism

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Journalism in the U.S. needs government support, preferably tens of billions of dollars – and soon, says Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communication professor and co-author of a new book making the case.

Only a few years ago, his suggestion for up to $30 billion in federal subsidies might have been considered “absurd and even obscene,” McChesney said, especially given strong concerns by journalists about potential government censorship or interference with the news.

But with the rapid decline of commercial journalism, especially of the newspapers that publish most original reporting, it may be the only means left for maintaining the journalism that a healthy democracy needs, McChesney argues in “The Death and Life of American Journalism” (Nation Books), co-written with John Nichols, a political blogger and writer for The Nation magazine.