Is the fundamentally capitalistic model for print media a thing of the past?
Many in the media and the current government think so. Consequently, there are calls for direct government financial assistance for newspapers and magazines. With the looming specter of federal government subsidy of news gathering, Christians should be concerned. How are we to get the relevant facts in order to make competent judgments?
One non-governmental solution is non-profit foundations established to gather news. There are already several national foundations doing just that: Project on Government Oversight (Washington, D.C.), ProPublica (New York City), Phillips Foundation (Washington, D.C.), Center for Investigative Reporting (Berkeley, Calif.), Center for Public Integrity (Washington, D.C.), and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (Washington, D.C.), to cite only the most prominent. Except for the Phillips Foundation these are foundations with a liberal bias. ProPublica, a recent Pulitzer Prize winner, started out with 30 working journalists and is funded with a $10 million annual grant from the ACORN-supporting Sandler family of California.
I propose that Christians who are concerned about news consumption and gathering create our own non-profit foundation to report and disseminate the news. Like the above foundations, our foundation would have a point of view. It would be a focused investigative unit committed to verifiable truth that will be uncovered by sound journalistic practice. This foundation should be located in one of the media capitals of America: New York City, Washington, D.C., or Los Angeles. It would be funded with an annual budget of $1 million. It would begin with a small staff of a seasoned director, four experienced and four cub reporters, as well as four college interns.
The articles generated by this foundation would be freely disseminated to the public via the Internet, print and broadcast media, as well as the foundation’s own website.
If we evangelicals don’t create a truth-based news gathering organization without regard for the marketplace or government largess we will continue to consume news that can be hostile to the truth of God’s general revelation.