Public Policy and Funding the News

A Project of the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy

Micropayments / Revenue from Online Content

  1. Adopt a cable-like model (Tom Rosenstiel; Mark Cuban, tax or license at the broadband or ISP level. (Jonathan Taplin suggests tax; CHORUSS is an attempt with music: Jonathan Taplin; also discussed: John Timmer)
  2. Tax computers and other devices that people use to access internet news. (William W. Fisher has proposed this for entertainment industry)
  3. “Build major online retail malls within news sites.” (Tom Rosenstiel). Supporting this notion is that maybe in the past people were not paying for news stories when they bought print papers but for job/car/movie/restaurant information. (Judy Sims)
  4. Create a national licensing system for news (this may require stronger copyright law) that is being used by secondary sites/aggregators, this could be modeled after the Newspaper Licensing Agency in the UK.
  5. Create a functional paywall for the news, perhaps with lots of papers working in conjunction. (proposed by many including Google: via Nieman Lab )
  6. Allow things to remain as they are, and avoid government intervention. Companies will reorganize or go out of business. (Many including Jeff Jarvis)
  7. Create national Fund for Local News, by taxing/collecting fees on telecom, broadcast licensees, and ISP providers. Then distribute funds via “Local News Fund Councils” based on innovation in local news reporting. (Leonard Downie and Michael Schudson, Jr., Colombia Journalism Review)
  8. Create consortium to develop “open standards for cross-platform e-reader technology, advertising and digital sales” and provide common difital storefront. (Announced by Hearst, Conde Nast, Meredith, News Corp, and Time Inc., paidContent)