Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Time for Organized Labor to Build Their Own Media | Slog:

Rolf is short on specifics, so allow me to suggest one: Labor—either alone or as part of a broader progressive coalition—needs to build its own media. And I don't mean union-focused online newsletters or blogs. I mean broad, general purpose news outlets that also cover sports, entertainment, business, culture, and everything else consumers demand. I mean competing directly with daily newspapers, TV and radio newscasts, and yes, even alt-weeklies like The Stranger. (Sorry, Tim.)

And I don't mean a propagandistic rag. They need to hire professional journalists, and assure the same sort of editorial freedom one gets at, say, the Seattle Times. No more, and no less. Of course, a labor backed outlet is more likely to hire a Rachel Maddow than a Michelle Malkin, but that's the privilege of ownership. And when it comes to the op/ed page, well, Katie bar the door. But that's the way this industry works.

And yes, such a union owned/subsidized news outlet would still be advertising supported. But without the need to break even let alone turn a profit, the whole newspaper business model crisis becomes a non-issue. There would be no expectation that revenues ever cover operations. Washington state unions already spend millions of dollars a year to get their message out through earned and paid media—they'd simply be shifting a portion of this expenditure to creating the media themselves.

What would the labor movement get out of such an investment? An audience.