Nerval's Lobster writes "In the 1941 film Citizen Kane, the titular newspaper magnate (played with cheeky insouciance by Orson Welles) gleefully tells a doubter that he's prepared to lose a million dollars every year in order to keep publishing. "At a rate of a million dollars a year," he smirks, "I'll have to close this place in 60 years." Over the past decade, of course, many newspapers and magazines have lost a lot more than a million dollars a year, and there are signs that online publications are having trouble holding their finances together, as well. But some very rich people are stepping in to prop things up: first Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million, then eBay founder Pierre Omidyar offered journalist Glenn Greenwald a whole lot of cash to start up a general interest publication. Billionaires and multimillionaires, of course, have total freedom to fund whatever they want—and that could be a good thing for publications with a mission and a serious need for cash. But what if the rich investor disagrees with something that his pet publication releases into the world? If (and when) that situation occurs, it could serve as an interesting test of whether the latest version of this "generous benefactor" model can work more effectively as an impartial channel for news than it has in the past (when conflicts of interest often sparked titanic fights between editors and owners)."
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