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Dutch Gov. Wants To Tax Online Media To Fund Print 187

Posted by kdawson
from the reverse-robin-hood dept.
Godefricus writes "Outrage ensued among Dutch techie and media websites, after a government report advised that the dwindling print media industry should be financially supported by the online industry (Google translation; Dutch original here). The idea is to help the old media fund 'innovative initiatives.' The suggested implementation of the plan is by taxing a percentage of each ISP subscription, and give the money to the papers. The report, which was solicited by the Dutch parliament and written by a committee of its members, specifically states that 'news and the gathering of news stories is not free, and the public must be made aware of that.' The report is not conclusive, but from here it's just one step toward a legislative proposal. Both industries are largely privately owned in The Netherlands, and the current government is center-left wing. Who needs an RIAA if you can build one into your government? And hey, why invest in the future if you can invest in the past?"
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Dutch Gov. Wants To Tax Online Media To Fund Print

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  • by SigILL (6475) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:56PM (#28445119) Homepage

    The responsible minister already said "no" [villamedia.nl] (Dutch language article and I'm too lazy to translate; learn Dutch you slackers :)).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      "Slashdot is, as usual, behind the times"

      Actually, I'm shocked. News on Slashdot that is less then 24 hrs old.
      What went wrong?
    • Could be worse.
      The news papers will only report about this tomorrow.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Daily Show Special Report [nola.com]

        Jason Jones: Tell me a joke.
        New York Times manager: No, that's your job.
        JJ: You wanna hear one from me? Okay. What's black and white and red all over?
        NYT: A newspaper.
        JJ: No, your balance sheet.

      • by mcvos (645701) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @03:00AM (#28449853)

        The news papers will only report about this tomorrow.

        Funny? Insighful! Every time I read a newspaper, I'm surprised I'm reading yesterday's news. I love reading from paper, but as a medium for reporting the latest news, it's obsolete. They should focus more on background and analysis for the factoids you've already read online. (Which is exactly the business model of my current newspaper, which is one of the few Dutch newspapers that's growing.)

        • by AlXtreme (223728)

          They should focus more on background and analysis for the factoids you've already read online.

          The problem is that newspapers now have to choose who to focus on: People who get their daily news online, and people who don't.

          As more and more people get their news-fix continuously throughout the day (hitting F5 on nu.nl has become an important part of Dutch work culture already) there will be less people that need cleaned-up press releases and there will be more that expect in-depth analysis on topics they saw

          • by mcvos (645701)

            The problem is that newspapers now have to choose who to focus on: People who get their daily news online, and people who don't.

            That's not the problem, that's the solution. More focused news papers, more accurately tailored to the way their readers read news.

            (hitting F5 on nu.nl has become an important part of Dutch work culture already)

            Wait, doesn't nu.nl reload automatically every minute or so?

            there will be less people that need cleaned-up press releases and there will be more that expect in-depth analysis on topics they saw online yesterday. But currently newspapers do have to cater to both groups.

            NRC Next caters specifically to the internet people. They don't do headlines, have all the important "latest news" factoids crammed into the bottom half of page 3, and the rest is background. Quite often background to something that was big on internet the day before (like that Iranian girl).

            Although in some ways, NRC N

  • Lobbyists (Score:5, Informative)

    by MathFox (686808) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:56PM (#28445127)
    Actually it is a report from the newspaper lobby and the responsible minister has already spoken out against the proposal.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Godefricus (1575165)
      No it is not. It is a report from a formal and powerful committee from within the parliament (Commissie Brinkman.) The minister did make an informal comment - thankfully - against this proposal shortly after receiving the report, but we have yet to await his final decisions -- and that of his civil servants et al. This could well be a matter of months.
      • by ReinoutS (1919)
        Brinkman hasn't been a Member of Parliament since 15 years or so. The other members [www.nu.nl] of the committee aren't MPs either, but journalists.
  • by Fuseboy (414663) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:57PM (#28445149) Homepage

    Taxing ISPs specifically, seems ass-backwards. If you're going to subsidize an outdated industry (which, hey, is done all over the place) why not fund it out of tax revenue generally, rather than putting a brake specifically on the internet? How about a new tax on cigarettes? :-)

    • by Znork (31774) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:57PM (#28446055)

      Taxing ISPs specifically, seems ass-backwards.

      Well, they want to blame someone, and the ISP's are probably as much 'internet' as you get.

      why not fund it out of tax revenue generally

      Because then it becomes part of the general budget and people start asking why we're spending that much on subsidies. Common strategy in the IP industries; if politicians actually had to justify the costs they'd be downsized in a heartbeat. Of course, calling it 'media production fee' and slapping it on the broadband, or calling it 'copyright' and letting private interests decide the rate doesn't really change the essence or the cost to the economy.

      Still, when it comes to the news business, few seem to be willing to face the actual problem; news is vastly overproduced. There is simply so much material to read every day that nobody can read anywhere near even a fraction of very narrow fields of interest. The fact that it costs money to produce news simply isn't the problem; todays more concentrated world has made the readers time the scarce product, a problem that no subsidies will solve.

    • by johannesg (664142) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @03:24AM (#28449957)

      Taxing ISPs specifically, seems ass-backwards. If you're going to subsidize an outdated industry (which, hey, is done all over the place) why not fund it out of tax revenue generally, rather than putting a brake specifically on the internet? How about a new tax on cigarettes? :-)

      I have two more questions:

      1. Every day, 3 or 4 completely free newspapers are being spread in every trainstation (and many other places) here in the Netherlands. If "news cannot be free", as the commission claims, does this mean we need to raise an extra public transportation tax to compensate for this free news as well?

      2. If the newspapers are being hurt so badly by free news available on the internet, why do they put their own content on the internet? And given that this pain is apparently self-inflicted, why would everybody need to pay for it?

      The claim that "news cannot be free" is bogus: news on the internet is paid for by advertising. It is hard to believe that a website such as nu.nl [www.nu.nl] would exist for so long without any revenue. The existence of free newspapers furthermore proves that paid subscriptions are not a necessity for running a newspaper.

      Also, the claim that quality journalism is a necessity for democracy is laughable. Well, actually it isn't - it's just that I see too many cut'n'paste jobs of ANP news in too many newspapers every day. This quality investigative journalism of which they speak seems to be a mythological ideal, rather than reality.

      • by mvdwege (243851)

        Actually, I wouldn't mind taxing the free newspapers to clean up the mess left by them. They've gotten away with having the municipality and the public transport companies pay for that externality for far too long in my opinion.

        Mart

  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:59PM (#28445197) Homepage

    What other newer technologies support older ones I have to wonder? I won't say that print media is "out" because I think it is still a very important thing to maintain. After all, once a newspaper commits to print, it can't effectively be changed. It was said and published, for better or for worse, whatever it was it will always be. With digital, there is a risk that few people take into account -- archives and editing. Anything stored digitally can be altered, often without a trace. History of events can be changed to suit whatever interests are pushing their agenda. The best you can do with print is burn it and hope that no one questions why it's missing.

    But to tax one medium to support another? There is something wrong with that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by twidarkling (1537077)

      After all, once a newspaper commits to print, it can't effectively be changed. It was said and published, for better or for worse, whatever it was it will always be.

      Yep, after all, "Dewey Defeats Truman" will always be!

      And hey, not like there's ever been forgeries of ancient documents. Got access to a printing press? Whip up your own version of history, and leave it some place safe to age, and hundreds of years from now, you'll mindfuck some archaeologists!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      Anything stored digitally can be altered, often without a trace. Ever heard of the Wayback machine [archive.org]? If information is made available for free, and massively redundant copies are made of it, then revisionism is very easy to detect by doing diffs against the copies. You can only run a Ministry of Truth [wikipedia.org] if you control ALL the copies of the information.
      • Exactly, and the ministry of truth can only work with print media (or uncrackable DRM) because within the next ~30 years it wold be reasonable to assume that an average hard drive could archive about half of the static content on the web.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by portnux (630256)
      What a cool idea! Maybe before that they can tax sneaker companies to support their wooden shoe industry though!
      • Apparently the wooden shoe companies are small but healthy. They sell them to tourists nowadays. Oh, and they have already long fled the Netherlands with its over-the-top tax climate.:)

    • by dimeglio (456244)

      I think we already saved thousands if not millions of trees since on-line media came about. Give yourself a nice tap in the back if you didn't print this. We don't have paper-less offices but offices with a lot less paper. I think this is just inevitable industry displacement.

    • by Baki (72515)

      In fact: alsmost yes. New cars are taxed with about 40% "luxury" tax. After the EU has finally forbidden this, it is being abolished over the timeframe of 12 years, but as a replacement new taxes are being invented on car traffic. The enormous amount of tax from cars is being used for many other things, mainly not for roads and car infrastructure.

  • by mooingyak (720677) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:00PM (#28445201)

    The report, which was solicited by the Dutch parliament and written by a committee of its members, specifically states that 'news and the gathering of news stories is not free, and the public must be made aware of that.'

    It's a shame those newspapers don't have any means of getting this kind of information out to the public.

    • by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:31PM (#28445703)
      It's a shame those newspapers don't have any means of getting this kind of information out to the public.

      Well that's kind of the point, nobody's reading them.
      • Not really true. It's just that the vast majority who are reading anything from them, are reading it online.

        The trickle of ad revenue from the online sites (assuming the story doesn't get picked up by the AP) doesn't cover the costs of a massive brick and mortar printing and distribution operation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Endo13 (1000782)

        Also, that "Whoosh" sound you heard was neither superman nor an airplane.

    • News *is* free, the gathering and dissemination of news may or may not be.

      Random thoughts:

      Conventional news sources ought to reflect on the recent coverage of Iran, which came to us almost exclusively by YouTube and Twitter. In fact, you would have been better off reading twitter's #iranelection topic than watching TV this past week. CNN was late to the game with their coverage. FOX News provided coverage that mainly involved talking heads and the same YouTube clips you could find easily on your own, but ou

  • Bad idea. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yppupcinataS.> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:05PM (#28445295) Journal

    Beginning Disclaimer: I work for a print newspaper.

    This sounds like about the worst idea I've ever heard. We've been living on the gravy train for decades, and as a consequence, we piss away money like it's water. Now things have gotten tight, and we're cutting and cutting deep, and a lot of outlets may go under, but so be it.

    This whole "the print media industry needs government help!" crap is making me nuts. First off, there are very few independent papers left, so you're really talking about bailing out another industry with overpaid CEOs who can't make a decent business decision to save their lives. The same people who really really thought the solution to their industrys internet problem was to give away their product for free. Right. Second, the news media has only one real legitmate function: to inform you about the actions the government is taking in your name. Having the government bail them out is a little bit problematic for that reason.

    The industry is changing. It's evolving. It will become something else. Trying to persist the current model is bound to fail, and propping them up with public cash does nothing but compromise their mission and prevent them from figuring out how to accurately make their transition. Jesus, just look at GM if you want to know what public money does to a private company.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Well, this is a tad bit different. Over all I do agree with you that this sort of intervention isn't a good idea. At best it's discouraging papers and other sources that are trying to remedy those sorts of problems.

      But, by the same token living in a one paper town isn't good. It's the little things like a while back there was an article on a city employee that was seeking the names of those that were taking advantage of the cities GLBT meetings and get togethers. A fairly reasonable request, but the pape
      • Re:Bad idea. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yppupcinataS.> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:26PM (#28445613) Journal

        In half the 2 paper towns these days, both papers are owned by the same goddamn company!

        I think multiple competing news sources are a good thing, but I also think, in this country, that the ability to sort and judge good information from bad information is a skill that we are intentionally not teaching our children. On top of that, we are rewarding news sources (Faux News, I'm looking at you) for providing biased and substandard coverage.

        That being the case, I'd really prefer to see one decent source rather than a half dozen crap sources.

      • Newspapers are mostly bad news anyway. They have, other than maybe the movie listings and classifieds, absolutely no value to me at all.

        Heck, even the movies and classifieds are more and more irrelevant due to the Internet.

        I even stopped watching TV almost 10 years ago now, don't miss it at all. Back when I had cable, basic cable, 70 channels at the time, I was constantly complaining that there was "nothing on".

        I get all my news, when and what I choose, via the internet and local radio. TV and newspapers ar

    • Re:Bad idea. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by chebucto (992517) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:45PM (#28445905) Homepage

      Newspapers living on the gravy train? Pissing away money? That's news to me; I know some journalists and they get paid at the low end of the professional wage spectrum.

      Few independent newspapers left? Overpaid CEOs? This is probably accurate, but it doesn't follow that a newspaper bailout is just about the industry; the individual papers remain, and still serve a purpose, whether or not they're part of a empire at the moment.

      Oh, and the CEOs didn't come up with the idea that free content was the solution; they were forced into that. Most newspapers started out charging for their content, and many still do - if not for their current stuff, at least for their archives. The NYT's decision to make all current content free was itself news only a year or two ago.

      The only legitimate purpose of a paper is to keep watch on the government? That's absurd.

      The industry may be changing, evolving, or even growing a sixth finger, but it doesn't follow that the ads-classifides-susbcriber-box business model will fail. I don't know anyone who _prefers_ to read from an LCD over dead-tree. More than that, news simply does not have to be up-to-the-minute; 99% of the stuff in a paper is fine when its 12 hours old, and some things - like columns - are better after bit of reflection.

      • Re:Bad idea. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yppupcinataS.> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @06:02PM (#28446133) Journal

        When we started looking for cost cutting measures, we discovered we'd been paying 250,000 a year for phones at a distribution center we'd closed 5 years prior. Nobody'd noticed, because that was pocket change. That's a whole buncha reporters they could have been paying, and that sort of waste was endemic just a few decades ago.

        And forced? I don't think so. They ignored the internet, and tried to charge regular subscription prices for online content, and took it in the ass. Then they went too far the other way. They're still lunging around without a real direction, outsourcing ads cutting their own throats by putting up projects that take months to produce, online before the print product is even on the stands.

        They try to sell these "online editions" which are basically pdf versions of the paper, and much less useful than the website itself. What a joke.

        Classifieds? Classifieds are gone. The revenue is down to 10% of what it used to be, and it's never coming back. Free online classifieds are superior to 15 columns of unsearchable text so small you need a fricking magnifying glass.

        No one gives a damn if the crappy newspaper comics page is going to go out of business. No one cares if the extremely scanty gig guide or the cooking/gardening crap that's all available online is gone. Editorial content, somewhat, but that's on the fringe of the regular news content.

        Frankly, you sound like you're about 60, and more power to you, you're our core demographic. But trust me when I tell you, that we can't survive if we can't get some subscribers under 30, and they're rare as rare.

        • by afabbro (33948)

          Classifieds? Classifieds are gone. The revenue is down to 10% of what it used to be, and it's never coming back. Free online classifieds are superior to 15 columns of unsearchable text so small you need a fricking magnifying glass.

          I think your overall point is valid. However, the Nickel Ads and similar free classifieds-only newspapers still do ripping business. The local Nickel Ads outfit has four offices in Portland and distributes a dozen editions. Something is propping them up. My guess is that there is still a large segment of the populace that doesn't look online for classifieds, consisting mostly of tradition-bound older people and nondigital poor. Put those together and that's a sizeable nimber of people.

          However, the form

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by SatanicPuppy (611928) *

            Free papers are an exception to the rule: they really are supported almost entirely by ad revenue, so they can afford to give away personal ads or classifieds just to draw the extra eyes for their paid ads. They don't own their own presses, they usually don't do home delivery, and they tend to have a very small staff, so their costs are very low.

            On the other hand, they make very little money, and generally can't afford to do much in-depth journalism.

        • by jcr (53032)

          When we started looking for cost cutting measures, we discovered we'd been paying 250,000 a year for phones at a distribution center we'd closed 5 years prior.

          Holy crap! That's the kind of thing that should get your internal auditors replaced.

          -jcr

      • by jcr (53032)

        I know some journalists and they get paid at the low end of the professional wage spectrum.

        Do you mean they get paid less than lawyers or journeyman carpenters?

        -jcr

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by demachina (71715)

      "This whole "the print media industry needs government help!" crap is making me nuts."

      Well I would tend to agree subsidizing the mostly corporatized newspaper empires is a little nuts.

      On the other hand I would REALLY like for someone to figure out a way for journalism to be a viable career, and to insure there are substantial numbers of professional investigative journalists digging up stories in the world precisely because it make people sweat who don't wan those stories dug up. They should absolutely all

      • Re:Bad idea. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @08:09PM (#28447531) Journal

        On the other hand I would REALLY like for someone to figure out a way for journalism to be a viable career...

        Ok, blowing all my mods to address this one.

        In the company I work for, we use trained journalists, and we use them for one purpose - and it's not writing internal newsletters. We use them because they know how to write. We have a constant need for people to write about stuff we sell and do in order to inform our potential customers. That text needs to be engaging, with correct syntax, punctuation and spelling. Do you know how rare it is in even a large technology company to find people who know how to construct a paragraph correctly, to say nothing of making it readable?

        Mind you, they need to know a little about technology. Not a huge amount, but enough to ask sensible questions in an interview.

        You might end up being called a "market analyst" rather than a "reporter", but work is definitely there, and it's the same sort of investigative reporting you were trained for. But the pay is probably better and interviews are easier to come by. It may not be the discovery of Watergate, but there's hope for you that isn't spelled Wendy's.

  • by nausea_malvarma (1544887) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:10PM (#28445377)

    Yet again, the Dutch government entirely ignores the welfare of town criers. This is an insult to town criers everywhere! I demand that the dutch government fund the struggling town crier industry by taxing newspaper sales.

    The news ain't free, you know.

  • Stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gilesjuk (604902) <.giles.jones. .at. .zen.co.uk.> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:15PM (#28445459)

    Did people have to pay car tax to fund horses and carts when cars become mainstream?

    Things change, old media dies. We don't listen to music on reel to reel tape recorders anymore, are people trying to preserve such things? nope.

    • Before newspapers in their modern form, anyone with a printing press just wrote some opinions and sent them out to the world -- like a blog.

      With modern newspapers, we have more accountability than ever before. They vary from amazing (WSJ, NYT, The Guardian, Ha'aretz) to awful, but you can get some very insightful news analysis if you know where to look.

      On blogs, not so much, outside of technology and popular culture topics.

      The format -- words on a printed page -- isn't as important as the organizations behi

    • by selven (1556643)
      No, they had to have people walking in front with red flags, which defeated the purpose of having a car in the first place.
    • Re:Stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yppupcinataS.> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:48PM (#28445949) Journal

      Bad analogy, because the death of reel to reel wasn't the death of (for example) symphonic music. It was just a transition from one format to another.

      The problem with the possible death of the print media industry, is that they're the only ones who do real, in-depth, reliable, reporting these days...They're the only ones who can afford to, because it's fricking expensive to do it right. So far, it's too expensive to support with online ad revenue as well, hence the problem.

      TV doesn't give a damn: they can fill the same amount of time by giving air time for some fringe moron to sit and spout his own uninformed opinions. And they hardly ever own up to errors of fact in their broadcasts. Can't rely on them for anything but pretty pictures.

      Bloggers don't have any real money, and they are completely compromised by a 100% dependence on ad revenue. Newspapers have always cared about ad revenue, but subscriber revenue and numbers were important enough to allow larger papers to effectively ignore the complaints of their advertisers...What were they going to do? Print pamphlets?

      Some people think the loss of that in depth reporting is a bad thing. It's going to be worst in local markets: when was the last time you saw your local TV station cover a city council meeting? If someone is zoning the land across the street from your house for heavy industry, you'd probably like to know, but chances are you won't find out about it without newspaper coverage.

      • by hab136 (30884)

        Newspapers have always cared about ad revenue, but subscriber revenue and numbers were important enough to allow larger papers to effectively ignore the complaints of their advertisers...What were they going to do? Print pamphlets?

        Subscriber revenues paid for the printing, nothing more. Classifieds were the real money maker. Ads were gravy on top.

        Now the classifieds are gone, and ads are down. Sucks to be them.

        • Largely agreed, though I'd say, "Subscriber revenues paid for the printing, and the delivery, and a good sized chunk of the physical plant."

          It was still enough to give them some independence.

      • the death of reel to reel wasn't the death of (for example) symphonic music. It was just a transition from one format to another.

        But that's just it. We shouldn't be interested in saving reel-to-reel, but rather supporting symphonic music. Similarly, we shouldn't care about saving newspapers, but rather supporting investigative journalism.

        We need to decouple investigative journalism from the dead-weight of print media. We need to find a way for journalists to do their thing, and be paid to do it. They can then sell their stories/research/articles to whoever (print media, websites, TV stations, etc.).

        [print media are the] only ones who can afford to, because it's fricking expensive to do it right. So far, it's too expensive to support with online ad revenue as well, hence the problem.

        I think what you meant to say wa

  • by DirtyCanuck (1529753) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:21PM (#28445533)

    Excerpt from a work in progress assignment for my summer university course:

    Early conjecture on the future of Newspapers and print media foretold of a future of embraced digital publications. Early literature on this movement includes Digitizing the News (Boczkowski, 2005) which begins by tracing early consumer non-print publishing initiatives to the rise of the internet in the mid 1990s. The books examination shifts to reviews of various online content provided by newspapers in the second half of the 1990s, which varies from direct reproduction of printed newspapers to interactive web based content that complimented the printed news. The book then progresses into examining three specific accounts of newspaper adaptation of the internet. The first example is a Technology section of the New York Times which started as an experiment to test new grounds for online media. The second example is the Virtual Voyager project of the HoustonCronicles.com (Boczkowski, 2005) of which reporters pioneered the evolution of multimedia journalism. The third example provided is the Community connection initiative of New Jersey Online (Boczkowski, 2005) which chronicles the birth of user generated content. This literature came out at around the same time as The Vanishing News Paper by Philip Meyer, which makes various assumptions of the state of Newspapers in the mid 2000â(TM)s and the way they are headed. The book begins with reprisal of early work Meyer did on newspapers being âoein the influence businessâ (Meyer, 2005) rather then the news and information business. His 2nd chapter focuses on the business model of âoeHow Newspapers Make Moneyâ (Meyer, 2005) which focuses on how newspapers are âoevictims of easy money.â (Meyer, 2005). In the 11th chapter, after outlining issues surrounding current models Meyer suggests that the death of Newspapers is near. In this chapter he essentially digs the grave for newspapers and predicts the death of newspapers if action is not taken. In Meyers final chapter he says âoeThe time has come to think about the things that we on the ground can do while traditional news media struggle for survival.â (Meyer, 2005) Giving various solutions to the current track that printed newspapers are on.
    These two books show early attitudes that are rather contrasting. While Boczkowski is conscious of the evolution of newspapers and migration to digital media he is still optimistic. His book is more of a glorification of progress rather than a cautionary tale. Meyerâ(TM)s on the other hand is very aware of the inevitability of newspapers if they do not undergo drastic change. These books thus give a capsule for attitudes in the mid 2000â(TM)s with regards to newspapers. One attitude was optimistic and the other a prerequisite of upcoming doom. Which book was more accurate? Only time would tell.

    The Contemporary Complexion
    At this point it is very clear as to who was right and who was wrong with regards to previously reviewed literature. The sense of urgency illustrated by Madigan and Meyer could have never had so much relevance. With the demise of the economy we see an acceleration of the death of newspaper that nobody predicted. Currently we see some Journals contradicting previous assumptions. Such is the case with The Rebirth of News (Peters, 2009) written in the Spring of 2009 this article in the Economist completely changes its tone from the previously reviewed article. In 2006 the Economist said âoeA cause for concern, but not for panicâ (Martin, 2006) but only 2.5 years later we see mass panic. The latest article stating that âoeMost industries are suffering at present, but few are doing as badly as the news business.â (Peters, 2009) This revelation comes at a time when newspapers are dropping at almost a daily rate. The article goes on the suggest reasons for the demise, including loss of ad revenue and readership. The article however informative still does not address the problems outli

    • interactive web based content that complemented the printed news

      Though I must say your version fit in well with this story. :-)

  • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:22PM (#28445557)

    ...this time all sales of CDs will go towards the 8-track tape industry and sales of DVDs and BDs will go to VHS and Laser Disc companies.

  • by eln (21727) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:23PM (#28445573) Homepage
    This is bullshit!

    Or, for our Dutch friends, a Google translation:

    Dit is onzin!

    And then back to English:

    This is nonsense!

    And, just for fun, to Filipino:

    ito ay kalokohan!

    And back to English:

    This is poppycock!

    I think I've made my point.

    • by selven (1556643)
      Now that the google translate meme started, it can't stop.

      man

      Through http://tashian.com/multibabel/ [tashian.com] once with the Asian languages:

      Person
      Personnels
      Personnel
      Staff
      Team of employees

      Again without the Asian languages:

      Equip with employees
      Supply yourselves with employees
      Refueling same you with the employees

      It all goes down from there...

      (finish that cycle and do it again)

      Ignition of base one of the parity of the employees fills above

      Such is the fall of man...
    • by Heian-794 (834234)

      And back to English:

      This is poppycock!

      I think I've made my point.

      Actually, "poppycock" covers both the English and Dutch steps at the same time:

      http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-pop1.htm

      Clearly this is a word for the multilingual, multicultural, interconnected modern world.

  • Surely this is a way for government to clip the wings of a struggling section of the fourth estate? Governments - anyone in power - generally does not look all that kindly on aggressive newspapers that speak truth to power and hold governments to account. I'm sure someone thinks this an ideal way to neuter domestic media by hooking it on public subsidy.

    Why not tax paper and create a print equivalent of the BBC? One could call it "Truth" or simply "News". Hmmm.

    • by Ironsides (739422)
      Or maybe, "Pravda"?

      Why does this sound so much like the proposal to bail out newspapers in the US [reuters.com]
  • There is no valuable thing in those "news" anymore. Nobody wants them. They are by definition worth nothing to us. Only propaganda, stuff about Britney Spears showing her pussy, and other distractions from what is really going on. That is why the industry dies in the first place. For once, the free market works, and they want to stop it?

    Well. I guess they still have enough friends and employees in government. But this will change soon too.

  • I'm already paying for my morning newspaper, why would I need to pay for it again via an ISP tax?

  • Uh, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dwiget001 (1073738) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @05:57PM (#28446063)

    Screw that.

    If print media cannot survive on it's own, with it's own resources, etc. then too fricken bad.

    It would be like, in the days of the first automobiles, taxing them to keep horse buggy manufacturers going. Actually, it's even worse than that.

  • This is like taxing marriage to fund prostitution.
    • by mcpkaaos (449561)

      That's the best god damned idea ever! If I don't see your name on the 2012 ballot I am writing you in.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This isn't something from the Dutch government, but from a commision ("Commision Brinkman") who has given out an advice to the government. So in that aspect /. is not only behind the facts as others already wrote; they got it wrong too.

    Second: The person behind this suggestion ("Eelco Brinkman") is one of the more powerful people in the Netherlands. If someone like that comes up with a brain dead idea like this then I call that a very scary development. The government rejected the idea, but not merely out o

  • citizen journalism is upon us. citizens are filming events LIVE and posting them LIVE as they happen. we dont have to accept what some agent of some paper picks as newsworthy in any given location anymore. we can choose to view and read our own news.

  • ... taxing DVDs to fund innovative uses of VHS video tape, or taxing laser printers to fund innovative uses of typewriters, or taxing microwave ovens to fund innovative uses of wood stoves, or taxing cars and trains to fund innovative uses of horses and donkeys?

    If it can't sustain it's own, it's a failed business model (at least now it is, after it has run its course as an intermediate technology to bring us to where we are). It probably needs to die off and be quick about it.

    If there is some specific bene

  • by Otis_INF (130595) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @02:58AM (#28449837) Homepage

    The Dutch government didn't state it wants any of this thing. The minister of education and culture asked a committee (with non parliament members!) how newspapers could be supported so they don't go bankrupt but at the same time the government isn't messing with how the papers run their company. He has 8 million euros for that. The committee calculated that that's not enough and advised to tax internet usage a bit so the total sum is larger.

    That's it. It's an advice of a committee to a minister who then has to think about what to do with it. As the minister is a well known scientist and well aware of what internet etc. is, I don't think this advice will be made law.

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