What is Government’s Role in Supporting the News Business?

Thumbnail image for Westphal_David_163p jpg.jpgThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for geoffreycowan_color.jpgA new report on the role of government in supporting newspapers and other news organizations will be released by the University of Southern California’s Center on Communication Leadership & Policy on Thursday, January 28, 2010. That same day, a press briefing will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. at 9:30 a.m.

The report, Public Policy and Funding the News, is co-authored by Geoffrey Cowan (pictured, left), USC Annenberg School dean emeritus and director of the Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP), and David Westphal, former Washington Editor for McClatchy Newspapers and current CCLP senior fellow and USC Annenberg executive-in-residence.

The report examines a common myth: that the commercial press in the United States is independent of governmental funding support.


According to the authors, “There has never been a time in U.S. history when government dollars were not propping up the news business. This year, federal, state and local governments will spend well over $1 billion to support commercial news publishers through tax breaks, postal subsidies and the printing of public notices.” Issues to be discussed include:

  • The impact of falling government subsidies on the news business today
  • A framework to consider various legislative and regulatory proposals to support news and information
  • Public broadcasting support, including international broadcasting initiatives
  • Antitrust regulations and intellectual property statutes
  • Publication requirements for public notices
  • Tax policies
  • Postal rates and regulations
  • Subsidies to expand broadband service

EVENT: Briefing on Government’s role in supporting news organizations. Release of report: Public Policy and Funding the News
LOCATION: National Press Club, Holeman Lounge
DATE: Thursday, January 28, 2010
TIME: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Briefing and continental breakfast
PRESENTERS: Geoffrey Cowan, director, USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy
David Westphal, senior fellow, USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Polic

SPONSORS: Center on Communication Leadership & Policy
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.

This project is made possible in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors.

EMBARGOED MATERIALS: For a copy of advanced embargoed materials, please contact Carrie Collins at 301-664-9000 x18; ccollins@bcc-associates.com or Amelie Hopkins at 301-664-9000 x10; ahopkins@bcc-associates.com.