Newspapers as Trophies?

 A column in today’s NYT suggests that the very wealthy are buying newspapers because they can afford to carry the cost.

Newspapers were, for much of our history, the toy or tool of the rich — or at least, those who could afford the overhead.  Often the publisher had an agenda and it wasn’t always about making money.  Look at the barons of the 19th and early 20th centuries – Hearst, McCormick and others.  They did turn a profit and they did, eventually, want to look like the good guys.

It wasn’t until the last half of the 20th century that newspapers served a community and hoped to persuade their subscribers that doing good was the publisher’s concern.

Doing good and having an agenda are not mutually exclusive.

Are we about to return to the bad old days with partisan publications?  As long as the object of the publication is to provide news we’ve not moved too far off the pitch.


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