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September 25, 2012


Frances Coppola

Or, for that matter, my belief that government should subsidize singing teachers who like to write about finance and economics in their spare time. Quite.

Thomas Hobbes

I have happily confirmed with my ISP that their standard response to any such request will be "get fucked".

Luis Enrique

there's an argument that investigative journalism is under supplied - you do all the hard work, but your rivals get to run the story too and the bump in revenues is negligible, so newspapers don't spend money on having teams working away on stories for little return.

So maybe rather than funding newspapers it might be better to fund something more like a news agency, like this lot:



I think it may be a benefit to funnel some of the money that goes to the BBC into other organisations that provide similar content - whether that be independent documentary film makers or investigative journalists. Why not? Why should the BBC decide how taxpayer money is spent? Making judgements based on hits is obviously stupid though. The Guardian is now ruined by cheap link bait, we really don't need any more. But the principal of subsidizing public good providers isn't a new concept and is worthy of discussion in the new internet age.


Surely not the same newspapers that shrilly announce support for so-called free markets? Or who call for public subsidies to the disabled and jobless to end? And who publish misleading reports that serve the owner's interests?

Blimey! Surely some mistake.

There was me believing that VAT should be slapped on them. The exemption from said tax is already effectively a subsidy.

Account Deleted

David Leigh is an investigative journalist, which means his view represents a particular class of news-content producer, not newspapers per se.

Outside a relatively short period of history (post-mass literacy and pre-radio), newspapers have not been wealthy enough to source all their content from paid staff. It is more efficient and effective to use third parties, both in the form of agencies and freelancers.

Newspapers are predominantly publishers (or re-publishers), being responsible for only a little primary production. This is often retained for reasons of social prestige (the legend of Watergate), or to ensure leverage with people in the public eye (from Northcliffe to Murdoch), not because it pays its way in terms of circulation.

The effect of the Web has been a vast expansion in the quantum of news and comment, which is a good thing. This is often discussed in terms of the threat to newspapers, as a publishing medium, but the bigger issue is the pressure it places on newspapers to drop inhouse journalism altogether.

The Guardian can probably make a go of it as a publisher in future (regardless of media, the brand is the key), but they'll need to pension off the likes of Leigh & co to do so. His pitch for a broadband levy is a plea to preserve a class of producer. Unfortunately, investigative journalists, unlike farmers and bankers, have few genuine supporters among the political class.

Chris Purnell

Pleased to see "creative destruction" reappearing in economic discussion. How I laboured on that concept in the 1960's.

Chris Gilmour

Maybe it would work if The Guardian became an internet service provider, it could charge higher rates than other ISPs and subsidise its news gathering operation exclusively.

James James

"voter turnout fell and incumbent councillors"

This is a good thing.

Francis Sedgemore

"Maybe it would work if The Guardian became an internet service provider,..."

Alternatively, the Guardian could subsidise its "great journalism" (Leigh) through a money-spinning magazine full of secondhand car ads. Oh, hang on…


Not sure why the BBC is being held up as some kind of shining beacon of journalism. All too frequently their type of journalism is shoddy, incorrect and at times simply mendacious. Flanders on Keynes for example last week was awful.

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All too frequently their type of journalism is shoddy, incorrect and at times simply mendacious. Flanders on Keynes for example last week was awful.

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