The great paradox right now is that we’ve never seen a period in American history where newspapers are struggling so much, and other media, we’ve never seen a period in American history where what we produce is in such demand. It’s just that we don’t want to pay for it. The internet has made that possible now. So then that leads to your question, which is, can the world become more like NPR and PBS, where you are dependent on philanthropy to make this work. You know, that works for some models.However, he continued, “it works to a limited extent.” One needs to be able to “take risks”: pursuing a lead to see where it ends up can cost “bundles of money” and sometimes doesn’t pan out.
What strikes me about what is happening in American media now is that people have begun to confuse blogging with reporting. Blogging is cheap. We can all blog in this room. It’s fun. It makes you feel better. It doesn’t necessarily give you a new set of information. It gives you a new set of opinions. And you know my favorite saying in American journalism is: ‘Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but not everybody is entitled to their own set of facts.’ And what worries me about this process that we’re going through now is, we have fewer fact-gatherers and so, if we do move to a different model—if we move to non-profit models, which we may have to do—I want to make sure that we are emphasizing the fact-collection part, because opinion is not expensive to produce. That’s why we have so much of it. Facts are hard to gather and expensive to gather, and we’re going to need a mix of models. . . . I think we’re going to make it and we’re going to come out the other end [of the current financial crisis afflicting newspapers] because there is so much global demand for our individual product; the product isn’t going to look like what you’re accustomed to every day.