The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Moira Vahey, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x31

Presidential Leadership Needed to Save the News

Free Press Praises Obama, Calls for New Policies to Support Quality Journalism, Not an Industry Bailout


In a meeting with newspaper editors on Friday, President Barack
Obama expressed his willingness to look at policies and proposals that
could help support quality journalism at a moment when traditional
outlets -- especially newspapers -- are struggling.

"Journalistic integrity, you know, fact-based reporting, serious
investigative reporting, how to retain those ethics in all these
different new media and how to make sure that it's paid for, is really
a challenge," President Obama told editors from the Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade. "But it's something that I think is
absolutely critical to the health of our democracy."

Craig Aaron, senior program director of Free Press, made the following statement:

"President Obama's leadership is needed to put the future of
journalism on the national agenda. Now is not the time for bailouts,
but it is a moment for forward-looking policies that will support local
and diverse media ownership, encourage experiments and innovations, and
invest in a world-class public media system. Our concern should not be
for newspapers -- or not just newspapers -- but rather for newsrooms
and keeping reporters on the beat.

"The struggles facing journalism are a national issue, and we need a
national strategy to meet these challenges and to sustain true public
service journalism. While we explore new business models for
journalism, we must also examine what role government can play in
supporting this indispensable institution. There is no silver bullet,
but policy decisions -- and the political will to make the right ones
-- will shape journalism's future.

"We look forward to working with President Obama, Congress,
journalists and -- most importantly -- the public to ensure our
communities can get the news they need."