Kevin Spacey, paraphrasing Edward R Murrow, said we get what we deserve. I think that is a great point of his, but it brings up a problem. You can’t operate a business at a loss and expect to stay in business, it just isn’t feasible. Money has to come from somewhere, and you can be certain that you don’t want the government or corporate and political interests paying your bills for you. The news in the United States is owned by a hand full of very powerful individuals, who long ago made the decision that entertainment is news/news should be entertainment. I think this is just as bad as the government owning all the all the news, as neither has a vested interest in being impartial or keeping to the facts. In either case, the tail will wag the dog.
Alternatively, we now live in a world of, I hesitate to call them citizen journalists, but citizen somethings… You don’t need a studio or a massive paper press warehouse with distribution facilities to report the news. As much as I hate to hold them up as an example, one only needs to look to TMZ to see how modern journalists can operate using a network of informants and reporters. Sure it’s celebrity gossip, but they’re very successful and have broken many stories- a testament to their methods and effectiveness, without the need for traditional print or media involvement. What’s more, they’ve managed to obtain a reputation for trustworthiness. Ironically, the same can not be said of most modern independent news sites, or news blogs, really. They have gone the entertainment route, or ventured off into extreme partisanship- the talk radio of the Internet. If Al Franken, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh all got together and had a love child, you’d have something akin to Alex Jones. It isn’t natural, but people actually turn to him as a source or reliable news. Dear god, it makes you long for the early days of Matt Drudge, who at least had a good muckraker’s moniker, if not his ethics. The point is, I believe the time and opportunity is ripe for a few Internet based news organizations to come to the fore as modern news outlets. Funding will still be an issue, but overhead will certainly be less.