I no longer have a kneejerk, no-government-money-for-media stance. It doesn’t make much sense when you consider how much support newspapers in particular have received over the years: special mailing rates, lucrative government advertising (mandated by legislation), shared job-training programs, etc.

But I’m still agin ’em at the moment. All of them, including the $30 million the Canadian government promised for as-yet unidentified aid over the next two years.

Yes, I believe media is important and, yes, media is as battered as any sector of the economy. What I fear is that any influx of money will prop up business as usual and put an end to the sometimes hesitant but ever-more-important task of reinventing media.

The recession isn’t the cause of the problems of media, it’s an accelerant slopped all over the trends that have been in place for decades.

When I read about the French plan to invest 600 million Euros in newspapers there, or the Peoria plan for saving newspapers, or about talks in Philadelphia to pour public money into newspapers (sorry, I’ve lost the link to that story), I fret. Public money may address current problems, but not the long-term ones.

To my mind, we need to keep some things in front of us. The death of a newspaper (or two, or 10 or a hundred), as horrible as that is for the people involved, is the not the Death of Newspapers. The death of individual newspapers is nowhere close to being the Death of Journalism.

All of the forces that remained in play before the recession — some of them dating back to pre-internet days — are still in play. Popping some bandages over the wounds to allow newspapers to continue doing what they’ve always done will only delay the necessary experimentation, research and redevelopment and reinvention.

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Related: A couple of instances do not a trend make, but…

What do some laid-off journalists do? Veteran journalist starts one-man newspaper and Woman Staying In Newspaper Business, Starting Farmington Valley Weekly. The latter is via Newspaper Deathwatch.

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