December 31, 2008

Reuters weighs in on supposed 'bailout' for Bristol Press

Reuters put out an analysis piece tonight that prominently features The Bristol Press and the supposed effort to bail us out (though, of course, that's not what it is). But it never hurts to get the paper's plight more publicity so I'm happy to see this one, particularly since it's now featured on the front of The Huffington Post.
NB Politicus has a discussion of the Reuters piece that's worth noting.
And T.J. Sullivan in LA, another blog, says the L.A. Times and Rocky Mountain News should pay attention to our tiny daily in Bristol.
Update on New Year's Day, 9:15 a.m.: As bloggers wake up this morning, they're beginning to weigh in across the land in thunderous denunciations of any bailout for the pro-Obama press. There doesn't seem to be any way to show them that there is no bailout in the works and that nobody really wants one.
But it is another wave of publicity for our beleagured little pro-Bristol paper, and there's always a chance that it might somehow help preserve us, so I'm not too concerned that the factual basis of all the ranting is simply wrong.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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Anonymous said...

Bristol Press! Bristol Press! Bristol Press!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification, Steve. I've updated both at the PW Pub and my own blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Steve for bringing your blog article to my attention. In response to your comment on my blog Point/Counterpoint (, I will embargo my post until there is a further flesh-out on what is going on.

That being said, I think your take is sound, and I hope that it turns out to be the case that no newspaper seeks taxpayer assistance for their failures in the market. If newspapers do start to go under, and they seek and receive government assistance, under Bush or Obama, it will speak volumes as to what side of the bread those newspapers were buttered. Don't let any such deals to bail out thpose newspapers besmirch the entireprofession. I was a journalist myself once and I am sure you understand that the prestige of your profession would be seriously undermined by a deal on the order the Reuters article (wrongly?) reported.

Best to you, (cannot reveal my name due to academic discrimination)

Anonymous said...

One last thing. It should be said that on the Hartford Courant poll, as of the submission of this comment, about 35% thinks the government should intervene to save the papers in some manner. About 65% thinks the government should stay out of it.

Lest this should be misinterpreted, I find the statistic that 1/3 of the people who took the poll apparently do not understand the separation between the media and government absolutely horrifying.

Frank Smith said...

Frank Says: Steve: Great article regarding the Reuters speaking up for your paper “The Bristol Press “

Let hope a buyer will prevail and save your paper.

Robert MacMillan said...

Hi Steve,
Thanks for writing about the story that I wrote. As you saw in the article, I never said that the papers are up for a bailout. I even said that this is not the same thing that is happening to the automobile and financial sectors. From the headline to the last sentence, I made clear that this is government "aid" of some kind -- in this case, incentives to get in the game, such as tax breaks (which some people say is a subsidy, and therefore a use of taxpayer dollars to keep someone afloat. I dare not mention the B word however.)
I hope folks who talk about the story read it first.
Thanks again and Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

The press has received govenment help since the founding of our country. Ever heard of the First Amendment? I would say that's helped out the Fourth Estate quite a bit over the years, and that was a government given handout, sewn right into the Bill of Rights.
What about the laws regarding newspaper boxes on the streets? Don't think that papers don't go to bat for themselves with city officials when street purists want to remove them.
What about newspaper carriers being exempt from child labor laws?
What about joint operating agreements to preseve papers in some towns?
What about taking government money for running legal ads?
Newspapers have lobbyists, too. It's all part of the game on the business side, and I wonder if you people who think the press (small p) shouldn't dirty its hands with any kind of government help think that the death of a paper is better than saving it.
No one is asking for the government to buy these papers or anything like the bailout we saw of Wall Street and the auto industry.
Democracy is at stake here, and all the "pro-help" advocates are saying is that whatever breaks are allowed to ANY OTHER BUSINESS should also be available to those in the news biz. Nothing special, just whatever anyone else is eligible for.
That's a lot less beholden than some of the examples of government help that I listed above.
Do you really think that letting America's papers die rather than be helped over a rough transition from print to online in a terrible economy is in the best interest of this country?
If you do, you are nuts.
Journalists make up only part of the business of newspapers -- other department are advertising, circulation and the business office.
Just like the editorial department shouldn't base news coverage on who advertises or doesn't, it shouldn't pay attention to other funding sources, either. They simply do their job to the best of their ability. That's just being professional.
That is all. End of story.

Steve Collins said...

I hope everyone reads MacMillan's story, too, because it's got a lot of meat to chew on. And it's not his fault that every other blogger is using it to trash the supposed left wing media and denounce a non-existent bailout move.
And thanks 2:05 for a great comment.