Tuesday Links: Donations, WSJ Short-Arm, Goldie’s Corporate Welfare

Steve Outing, like me, likes the idea of asking readers for donations. He just thinks The Miami Herald is going about it wrong, and lists why. He’s right and has some good ideas—like targeting frequent users—on what the paper and others like it could do to get a donation stream of revenue flowing. Commenter Nick Jungman has a good idea:

I wonder about an approach that creates some peer pressure to donate. The Herald uses a Pluck commenting system with prominent avatar images. What if a donation at a minimum level (say, $30 a year) gets you a “member” badge on your avatar. Suddenly, you’re proclaiming to the community that you’re a real member of it, not just an in-and-out gadfly. Every serious commenter would probably feel some urge to join the club.

— The Journal slaps an incomplete story about E*Trade’s CEO transition on C3 of the paper. Missing: Why the company’s apparently in trouble and looking for a buyer and why the CEO is leaving—all information that should have made the story.

Bloomberg is good to raise another example of Goldman Sachs at the public trough: The public financing and grants made for it to build its $2 billion headquarters in lower Manhattan.

Tax-free bonds will save the company $175 million over thirty years (and cost taxpayers the same, of course) and direct grants of $49 million, which was increased to $115 million after the firm threatened to pull out of downtown again. Ahh, corporate welfare.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.