Kerry aims to rescue newspapers
By Jennifer Harper (Contact) | Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The "death of newspapers" has drawn powerful political interest.
Troubled by the possible shuttering of his hometown paper, Sen. John Kerry reached out to the Boston Globe on Tuesday, then called for Senate hearings to address the woes of the nation's print media.
"To the Boston Globe family," the Massachusetts Democrat wrote to employees of the 132-year-old publication, which faces closure unless it can come up with $20 million in union concessions to parent company the New York Times by May 1. The Globe is losing $1 million a week.
"America's newspapers are struggling to survive, and while there will be serious consequences in terms of the lives and financial security of the employees involved, including hundreds at the Globe, there will also be serious consequences for our democracy where diversity of opinion and strong debate are paramount," Mr. Kerry said.
Most newspapers are in similar circumstances as the industry struggles with the worst job losses on record and plummeting revenues. Faced with competition from online and broadcast sources, all papers now seek multimedia ways to deliver their news and monetize their content.
"I am committed to your fight, committed to your industry and committed to ensuring that the vital public service newspapers provide does not disappear," Mr. Kerry told the Globe employees.
Lawmakers are witnessing the crisis firsthand. Press watchdogs who once prowled Capitol Hill are disappearing, replaced by special-interest publications and foreign news organizations.