Monday, September 24, 2012

Who is this "we" Mr Greenslade?

Roy Greenslade in today's Media Guardian is proposing a solution to a problem, according to him, "we" have all been pondering over:
We have been puzzling for years about how to subsidise journalism once it makes the final transition from print to net (see here and here and here). One obvious model is the funding of the BBC through its licence fee.
Well, speak for yourself, Mr Greenslade. I have not been puzzling about it at all.

I do know that various media and other outlets have been working out how to make the internet pay and have come to various, mostly unsatisfactory answers. One solution would be a pay wall on all newspapers and news sites but that is not a viable one as long as the tax-subsidized BBC can pump huge amounts of money into its own site without needing to charge consumers.

Mr Greenslade now proposes a similar arrangement for all or some newspapers on line (well, actually, he is repeating a solution proposed by one of his colleagues, David Leigh) and that is a levy on all broadband users to distribute in some unexplained fashion between various hacks on the net because the world cannot manage without them. There are, he acknowledges, some practical problems around but he is sure they can be overcome.

At a time when ever more people are beginning to realize that the BBC's fiscal model is unjust, ridiculous and out of date, it takes some doing to propose a similar one for all journalists. I am delighted to say that the comments make short work of Mr Greenslade's arguments.


  1. Some of us have been cheering their richly deserved downfall, due to their combination of arrogance and the poor product of their product.

    Well, I have, anyway.

  2. "I am delighted to say that the comments make short work of Mr Greenslade's arguments."

    However that will not stop the idiots in government from taking it seriously especially if Labour return to power.

    1. Not power, government. Power lies in Brussels. Actually, I can quite imagine the Coalition going along with this rubbish as well.

  3. The more I see, the more I become convinced that subsidies damage both the giver (wallet pain & lack of market forces) and the recipient (dependency).

  4. As I understand it, The Guardian has been propped up by public sector advertising and Auto Trader for years, so a product few willingly buy has already been subsidised. Even so, it's facing oblivion. The Guardian and the Observer losing north of £30 million a year.

    The BBC is often referred to as the on-air version of The Guardian. The mentality is the same, they both regard themselves as an essential public service which has a right to exist and do as hey please, and which we have an obligation to pay for, whether we like it or not.