Rising unemployment and a declining economy are placing enormous fiscal pressures on news organizations around the globe. The simultaneous declines in ad revenues and circulation levels have undermined the traditional business model of newspapers, radio and television networks. The competing emergence of Internet web sites and bloggers has changed the dynamic. As a result, the news media is increasingly merging with entertainment media – a trend that holds the promise of expanding public discourse but also threatens to diminish its quality.
On May 18, The Brookings Institution hosted an event to discuss how to “re-engineer” the traditional business model of the news industry and to improve media coverage of public affairs. Time’s Karen Tumulty moderated a discussion with Brookings Vice President and Director of Governance Studies Darrell West, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) , Aspen Institute’s Walter Isaacson, and journalist Michael Kinsley. Brookings President Strobe Talbott offered introductions and opening remarks.