This feels like some kind of emergency, and it is not clear to me that our legislators recognize that. The first instinct of journalists is to reject any kind of subsidy. I can well believe that instinct is more pronounced in the U.S. than in Europe. But print is declining faster than digital—particularly in a recession—can compensate for. There are things that societies need—including systematic coverage of public authorities—that new digital initiatives cannot yet adequately provide.

I’m an optimist, and I very much like the overall positive tone of this report. In the case of Trafigura, Twitter achieved something important for English law. There is much to be excited about. But we may all need a little help along the way.

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Alan Rusbridger is editor in chief of The Guardian and The Observer in London. He can be reached at