Yesterday, the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), held a hearing about the future of newspapers. Among the expert witnesses asked to give testimony was Paul Starr, the Princeton political science professor, media historian, and public intellectual. And Starr, in turn, has posted the text of the introductory statement he delivered at the hearing: an argument, essentially, for strategic government subsidy that will allow newspapers to maintain their institutional independence even as they benefit from financial assistance.
You can view the testimony—which presents a concise summary of newspapers’ current economic plight; a brief examination of government subsidies in historical context; and, finally, recommendations for government action that will preserve a robust press despite the disintegration of the previous century’s funding model—here (pdf). The document is four pages long and, unsurprisingly, well worth reading in its entirety.