Tuned In

Dead Tree Alert I: Who Pays for News?

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Illustration by Francisco Caceres

Illustration by Francisco Caceres

My current TIME column combines some themes I’ve written about in a few Tuned In posts lately, looking at the lengths journalists are going to to fund their work, and pointing out that even “free” news is paid for by somebody: 

 Will ___ save journalism? Lately it seems easier to find ruminations on that subject than to find journalism itself. With advertising down and the Internet making information seem free and easy, anxious journos (for whom “save journalism” equals “save my job”) have suggested numerous white knights for their profession, including Amazon’s Kindle, philanthropists, micropayments, the government and the new iPhone. (Is there an app for that?)

Or coffee! Maybe coffee will save journalism! Read the rest…

When I say that free news isn’t free, by the way, I don’t mean, “You get what you pay for, people, so you better buy a subscription to TIME or civilization will collapse!” I do mean that media are always subsidized somehow, with money, with time, or both. And the way the people who produce it pay their bills inevitably has the potential to affect the work they produce.

Always something to keep in mind, but even more so as the media’s business models get more, er, creative. Now who wants Starbucks?