Written with Jackson Doughart
Private-sector newspapers were once in the business of scrutinizing government, including government spending. Now, they’re the ones with their hands out.
Today’s news media outlets face a terrible Catch-22: If their representatives succeed in securing state funding, they will jeopardize their independence and become mere minor-key equivalents of the CBC. But if they can’t get their private funding houses in order, their products will wilt away, and the CBC’s advantage — deep government funding — will finish them off for good.
Recent developments in Quebec suggest that many outlets are heading down the subsidy path: 146 newspapers in the province have formed a coalition to lobby the Quebec government to fund their digitization efforts. The mix is mostly small local outlets controlled by three different conglomerates, as well as Le Devoir.